How to keep your kitchen kid-safe
Letting kids get involved in the kitchen is a great way to pique their interest in new foods and foster creativity. However, if you don’t take the proper precautions, it can also be a dangerous undertaking. Before inviting your little ones into the kitchen, kid-proof it by taking the following steps.
- Secure the cabinets (and shelves). If you’re cooking with toddlers underfoot, chances are they’re going to want to get into just about everything. That includes cabinets stocked with chemical-laden cleaning supplies. Childproofing cabinets is not a new concept, but there are some fresh ideas that make it a little less painful. Instead of the old school plastic contraptions that stump as many adults as kids, try a set of the new magnetic childproof locks to keep nosy youngsters out of harm’s way. You simply install a magnetic “lock” on each cabinet door, to which only you have the magnetic key. Touch the key to the front of the cabinet door, and it will swing right open. One key unlocks up to eight cabinets. Also affix any freestanding sets of shelves to the wall so there’s no risk of them toppling over.
- Oust breakables and chokeables. Another obvious first step is ridding the kitchen of anything that could shatter and result injuries or get scooped up by little fingers and cause choking. Depending on the age of your children, they might be able to navigate your kitchen as-is. But if you have smaller kids at home, it’s good to scour low shelves and remove any potential hazards.
- Avoid carriers of foodborne illness. When kids are old enough to actually get involved in the cooking or baking process, keep a careful eye on any ingredients that could cause illness. For instance, raw eggs sometimes carry salmonella, so don’t let your children taste-test cookie dough. Similarly, raw meats can be contaminated with bacteria like E. Coli that causes illness at best and death at worst. Don’t let kids handle these ingredients and use caution when you’re handling raw meat or poultry in the vicinity of children.
- Demonstrate hygienic habits. Kids tend to model what adults do, which means you have the opportunity to instill good habits simply by demonstrating them yourself. Wash your hands before you start cooking and help your kids do the same. Head back to the sink in between tasks that involve handling potential sources of foodborne illness, like the aforementioned eggs and meat. Also show kids how to wipe down counters in between tasks and clean as you go to keep the kitchen spic and span, and keep everyone eating the food healthy.
- Lay down a list of rules. Perhaps the most important part of keeping kids safe in the kitchen is creating guidelines for them. Explain that the rules are specifically to keep them safe while they cook, and offer a succinct and simple list. Basic rules should include not running in the kitchen, especially when the stove or oven is in use, and only using butter knives for cutting under the supervision of an adult (if the child is old enough). Also teach kids how to let you know where they are when cooking with a simple “behind you” to avoid bumps and bruises.
Ways to Make Your Kitchen Kid-Friendly [HomeAdvisor]
I Just Childproofed My Kitchen, and Here’s What I Did [Kitchn]
Keeping Your Children Safe in the Kitchen [Cooking Light]