When you have small children, you want to ensure safety everywhere they go. That’s why you hold their hand when crossing the street, keep them within arm’s length at the grocery store and go over safety protocols with their day care teachers.
You may think your house is the safest place your children can be, and often, it is. A home is a comforting place where your kids are free to run, play and snuggle with you on the couch. However, there are some hidden dangers, especially in the kitchen. Your kitchen could be a minefield of potential dangers without the proper measures, including sharp objects and harmful chemicals. Taking precautions in your kitchen ensures your children are safe, and it will give you peace of mind.
Here’s how to childproof your kitchen!
Kitchens are full of corners. There are dining tables, kitchen counters and islands. Kids are at the perfect height where they may hit their heads on the corners and edges of these kitchen features. Shield those harsh corners by installing soft protective guards and cushions. Additionally, keep chairs and stools away from the counters so your kids won’t be tempted to climb. Head injuries are some of the most painful and dangerous occurrences but they can be prevented!
Secure the Trash Can
Pets often get into the trash can when you’re not home, strewing garbage and food scraps throughout the kitchen. Kids are culprits of that, too, even when you are home. Make sure your trash can’s lid is secure. If you don’t have a cover, it might be in your best interest to invest in one.
To take childproofing a step further, bolt the trash can to a wall. Toddlers will use anything to help them stand up when learning to walk, including the garbage bin, which they’ll knock over.
Keep Spices Out of Reach
Spices can be harmful to children. Even though most containers have lids on them, children can still find ways to open them if they’re within reach. Install a recessed spice rack or keep your herbs on a higher shelf in a kitchen cabinet. Some of the spices you may use every day in the kitchen can be toxic for children. Nutmeg can cause headaches, and bay leaves can damage their gastrointestinal tract.
Add Cabinet Locks
An excellent tool for any cabinet in your home is a cabinet lock. There are multiple types, including magnets, adhesives or ones you drill into your cabinets for added protection. This is the easiest way to keep cleaners, pots, pans, cutlery and food items out of reach of your children. When your child tries to open a drawer or door, they won’t be able to access it, keeping them safe.
Unplug Small Appliances
When you’re not using a small appliance, like your toaster, coffee pot or blender, unplug it. Stow the cords, too. If left plugged in, your child might end up trying to use the appliance, which can be extremely hazardous. Keeping cords put away prevents your children from tugging on them and possibly pulling items off the counter and onto themselves.
Always Keep an Eye on the Stove
Never leave the stove unattended when you have children in the house. Turning your back for a moment could lead to a burnt hand or a child trying to open the oven. Once your little one is on the move, this can be more challenging. Try to keep them out of the kitchen when you cook if possible, or put them in a playpen or high chair if you’re the only adult in the house. You can also get an oven lock and stove guard and take the knobs off when not in use.
Secure the Fridge and Appliances to the Wall
Heavy appliances may seem sturdy, but there have been too many cases where they fall over onto people. They can tip over if not appropriately leveled or if your child hangs on them. Use bolts to keep it secured to the wall. It keeps the appliances where they’re at and ensures they won’t fall over any time soon.
Seal Outlets With Safety Plugs
Outlets are a huge hazard for small children. Kids are curious about the small holes in the wall and may try to put items in them. If your child puts something in an electrical outlet, they have a severe risk of being shocked. Every year, about 2,400 children in the United States are treated for electrical shock by outlets. Ensure you cover them with an outlet cap when they’re not in use.
Place Knives and Breakables Out of Reach
Make sure your knives and any fine china or other breakables are out of reach of children. If you have a knife block, keep it pushed back against a wall on your countertop or in the middle of a kitchen island, which is as far out of reach as possible. If any of these items are in your dishwasher, unload them as soon as the cycle is done. Ensure you place knives face down in your machine’s utensil holder, too.
Practice Safe Cooking
When you are in the kitchen and your children watch you cook, make sure you’re practicing safe cooking techniques. Showing them the appropriate way to handle certain kitchen items and letting them know something is sharp or that the stove is hot can go a long way in childproofing your kitchen. Additionally, cook on the back burners and turn the pot handles away from the stove's edge.
Teach Older Children Basic Kitchen Safety
If your kids are old enough, teach them basic kitchen safety. Show them how to carry knives and use one. Getting them involved in the kitchen early on can lead to safer practices as they grow older. Plus, they’ll love getting to cook and learn from you. They can then be role models for younger siblings while in the kitchen.
Keeping Your Kids Safe at Home
Home is often the safest place your children can be, and you can make it even safer by taking these steps to childproof your kitchen. Watch out for small hazards, and use these tips to give you peace of mind.
| About The Author:
Rose Morrison is a home living blogger and freelance writer. She is also the managing editor of Renovated.com. To read more from Rose, you can follow her on Twitter.