Whether you’re teaching your kids how to cook or they’re just running around, there are ways to prevent accidents in the kitchen.
Kitchen mishaps occur frequently and are actually quite common in U.S. households. Sometimes dangerous equipment is used by children who are unsupervised. Plugs, cords, and outlets can get in the way and cause an accident. Teapots, pans, and pots near the edge of the stove can be pulled down and create grave injury.
Each year over 100,000 children in America are rushed to the hospital with burns. The majority of those injuries are from cooking or food-related accidents. And, sadly, over 1,000 children die each year from burn injuries.
The more positive news is that many of these accidents can be avoided or prevented. Here are some safety suggestions:
1) Cords from electric flying pans, rice cookers, crock-pots, etc. should be far from reach of little hands. Make sure no wires are dangling off the edge of a counter—this includes those from coffee makers, electric kettles, and toasters.
2) Use the back burner on the stove whenever possible. If you use pans in the front, make sure to turn handles away from the front edge. Also, burner-covers are a smart safety tool for once you’ve removed your pan but the stovetop is still hot.
3) Don’t leave food that’s cooking unattended.
4) Keep young children away from sharp knives and equipment with moving blades.
5) Create a no-kid zone in the kitchen when you’re cooking or baking. For babies and toddlers use a gate. For older kids, let them know the boundaries and why.
If Something Happens…
Tend to the wound immediately. If it’s a burn, wash with cool water. DO NOT USE ICE. Also, Do NOT put butter or powder on a burn. (Those are wives-tale remedies that create a worse scenario.) Cool water will sooth, decrease inflammation, and help to clean out any bacteria that may later cause infection. Depending on the injury you will want to either contact your physician or go to the E.R. The sooner you treat a burn or a bad cut, the better the outcome.
A Positive Project
Cooking and baking with your kids is great for their self-esteem. It empowers them—allowing them to be creative and learn self-sufficiency.
Cooking is an excellent one-on-one opportunity to teach and have a memorable time. Guiding our kids towards healthy food choices can (and should) begin at a very young age. Perhaps start with allowing them to add their own choice of toppings to homemade pizzas. Baking teaches them about measurement and timing. With supervision, you can help them manage a hot stove and/or oven.
Food experts suggest that you let the child “make a mess.” By that, they do not mean destroy your kitchen. Rather, let them experiment and continue without cleaning every two seconds. And don’t follow them with a sponge every step of the way as it may hinder their process. Once more, this is about teaching, letting go, and being a safety for our kids. Bon Appetit!