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Kitchen Safety for Kids

For many families, the holiday season means lots of cooking and baking. Holiday traditions often take place in the kitchen over mixing bowls and hot stoves. Your children will likely enjoy helping you make cookies, pies, side dishes, appetizers, meals, and whatever other delicious dishes are on the holiday menu. And, since schools are no longer offering home ec classes, teaching your kids how to cook while practicing food safety falls on parents and guardians.

Preventing Burns and Kitchen Fires

You can print out this flyer from Safe Kids Worldwide, which put together a nice checklist of fire safety and injury prevention tips. If you have small children, you already know their curiosity knows no bounds. Keep them away from hot surfaces, and keep pot handles and cords out of reach.

Preventing Falls

Little helpers should carry only manageable amounts of items. If anything spills or splatters, teach them to clean it up immediately. Wet floors are dangerous floors. A clean kitchen also discourages pests and bacterial growth. Prevent spills in the first place by alerting each other like the pros do: say “behind you” or “corner” to prevent collisions in a busy kitchen.

Preventing Cuts

Your child’s readiness for learning knife skills depends on their personal development and your willingness to teach them. Always supervise children, teach knife safety, set a good example, and know first aid in case of an emergency.

Food Safety

Before handling food, wash hands with soap and warm water. Prepare raw meats and proteins separately from vegetables. Check the temperature of refrigerated and cooked food, and check the shelf life of ingredients and leftovers. When it comes to licking the batter, the important thing to understand is that not all raw eggs contain salmonella – but there’s really no simple way to tell which ones do until you’re suffering a tummy ache! So, avoid batters containing raw eggs.

Finally, keep yourself safe too. If your child is more of a hindrance than a help in the kitchen, set them up to play elsewhere while you juggle pans and appliances and sharp tools. Plan ahead to come up with age-appropriate tasks so that when your young child inevitably wants to help, they can make themselves useful doing something relatively harmless. Need to unwrap candies for a dessert recipe? That’s a perfect job for a willing kid cook who isn’t ready to handle more hazardous tasks. For older helpers, peeling potatoes is a safer task than chopping onions. Use your discretion and your knowledge of your kids to delegate tasks, and never leave them unsupervised in the kitchen.

Posted in Blog on November 20th, 2017