Every year more than 67,000 children experience an accident in the kitchen. Between knives, choking hazards, heat and heavy objects, the kitchen is one of the biggest danger zones for children, especially when they become mobile. Taking a few minutes to child-proof your kitchen will ensure a safe and happy home.
Most childproofing items can be purchased at large retail stores (like Target) and can be found online.
Buy childproof locks for your cabinets. Children love to open and close the cabinet doors below your counter. They could slam their fingers, get them stuck in the crevice or worse, access something dangerous in the cabinet.
There are two types of child safety locks. One connects the handles of the cabinets so they stay shut -- this only works if you have double doors. The second attaches to the top of the cabinet, and only allows it to open about one inch when pulled.
Install drawer locks. These locks only allow kitchen drawers to be open about one inch when pulled. These locks are critical to keep kids away from knives, other silverware, and dangerous junk drawer items.
Put plugs on all outlets. Outlet plugs are important to keep little fingers out of outlets. Close to 4,000 injuries associated with electrical outlets are treated in U.S. emergency rooms every year, and about one-third of these occurs when kids insert metal objects like keys and hairpins into the outlets. You’ll find outlet covers at your local hardware store starting at $2.
Keep a baby gate on hand. You won’t use it all the time, but it’s nice to have when you’re cooking and cleaning. When you’re working with the oven, and constantly opening the refrigerator, it’s easiest to keep the baby out of the room completely.
If you have a child under five, keep them away from knives at all times. If your child is older and you want to teach them proper knife etiquette, start by using a plastic knife or a butter knife. Have them practice cutting on something soft like a banana, and talk to them about the importance of knife safety.
Teach your children to never touch the stove, even when it’s off. Stoves stay hot to the touch for some time after they’re switched off, so let your children know that the stove is not something they should touch. If they’re away from the stove at all times, they’ll never risk being burned.
When you’re cooking, never let anything lean over the edge of the counter. Children can pull on pan or pot handles and rags, causing hot or heavy objects to fall onto them.
In case something happens, teach them what to do if they hurt themselves. The most common cause of burns to children in the kitchen is hot liquid. Teach your children that if they get burned by a liquid, it’s important to tell a grown-up. If there isn’t a grown-up close by, teach them to immediately go to the sink and hold the burn under cool, running water. If your child’s burn begins to blister, cover it loosely with a sterile gauze and take them to the hospital.