Maintaining a safe kitchen

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A safe kitchen is vital for you and your child. Your little one is particularly vulnerable to the potential dangers created by an unsafe kitchen. Whether you are designing a kitchen, or rearranging what is in your current one, we have some sensible suggestions to consider so you can maintain a safe kitchen.

Keep your kitchen clean

  • For hygiene purposes it is important to clean your kitchen regularly. Allocate one cloth for cleaning surfaces and another for cleaning dishes. Make sure you launder these regularly. Also have one that you use exclusively to wipe up spills on the floor.
  • Clean surfaces before and after meal preparation and make sure you wipe down your little one’s eating area as well.
  • If you or your child spills something, clean it up straight away. That will minimise the risk of slips and falls in the kitchen.

Store items safely

  • Ensure dangerous objects such as knives are stored in wooden blocks. Make sure these blocks are kept well out of reach of your child.
  • Check that your little one can’t reach electrical cables and that you store items like these away when they are not in use.
  • If your little one insists on opening and shutting doors and cupboards to explore, it might be worth investing in some child proof locks until they are a bit older.

Cook carefully

  • Meal preparation time can often be the most hectic time of day. It is vital to make sure that, when you are cooking, you turn all pot handles inwards and out of reach of grasping little hands.
  • If possible, place your little one in the high chair while you are preparing food and give them something safe to play with, so you can move about the kitchen safely.

Teach your little one the meaning of danger

  • You can help your child understand the meaning of ‘Stop!’ and ‘Danger’ from fairly early on.
  • If they move towards something in the kitchen or try to reach something that is unsafe, say one of these words and remove them from the area. It will usually take some time for them to understand these words, but it is important to be consistent and to focus on keeping them safe at all times in the kitchen.

Allocate a kitchen space for your child

  • If you have the space, give your child a drawer or cupboard they are allowed to open and rearrange. You might like to give them some objects they can play with like a wooden spoon and a light saucepan.
  • Alternatively, give them some large plastic containers to play with. Just make sure whatever you give them is appropriate for their age and stage of development.

Safety tips for the kitchen

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  • Never leave small children alone in the kitchen when preparing food. 
  • Use the back burners of the stove and turn pot handles inwards or to the back.
  • Keep electrical cords of appliances, such as the kettle cord, short and out of reach so that they cannot be pulled.
  • Install child safety latches on all cupboards with dangerous products.  When buying potentially poisonous/ hazardous products make sure they have childproof caps. Always lock them away out of reach.
  • Install a smoke detector.
  • Avoid hanging curtains near the stove, as this is a fire hazard.
 
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