For your children, the kitchen can be a fun and dangerous place. Cooking is a fun bonding moment if done properly, but with the playfulness and curiosity of our kids, accidents are likely to happen if we turn our attention to other stuff even for a few seconds. For this reason, it’s important to safeguard everything that your kids could potentially play with. More importantly, we should instill in them these basic rules when in the kitchen:
1. Keep kids and pets out
Since cooking is a burn hazard, as a general rule, kids and pets do not belong to the kitchen. Do not hold your kid or a baby while cooking. If you’re teaching your kids about cooking, opt for simple recipes that only require minimal cutting, heat, or use of any appliances. You have to teach them that the kitchen is not a playground.
2. Wear a safety gear when in the kitchen
Even if you’re used to walking around barefoot inside the house, wearing some sort of protective shoes in the kitchen can save you from hot liquid spills, falling knives and other accidents. Avoid wearing clothes that are long and flowy as you might trip on it while working around in the kitchen, and synthetic fabric that can melt on your skin if it catches fire. This also includes using hot pads and oven mitts.
3. Never rush
Unless you’re in a cooking show with Gordon Ramsay, do not rush anything you’re doing in the kitchen. For non-professionals, rushing to cut an onion can lead to a cut on the finger so take your time and encourage your kids to do the same if they wish to help in the kitchen. Though steams and hot pots can be scary, it’s important to teach your kids that these things should be handled with care.
4. Stir away from your body
If you’re working with a potful of ingredients, you will have to stir it occasionally to achieve an even cooking. This makes little splashes of hot liquid on your skin an expected hazard. But while bubbles and boiling points are necessary for cooking, scorching splashes need not be. Make sure to stir away from boiling foods with a spoon that holes through it for the liquid to pass through.
5. Use knives responsibly
As you already know, knives are the sharpest tool in your kitchen, probably even in the entire house. It’s also a vital tool in food preparation which is why, if you’re teaching your kids about cooking, the first lesson should be to learn the different uses of knives and treat them all with respect. When cutting, it’s best to cut ingredients like chefs do: hold the ingredient with your non-dominant hand with your fingers curled under to prevent accidents. Do make sure that your knives are sharp as a dull knife can easily slip and cut.
6. Know how to use your appliances
Appliances are meant to make our lives easier, but only if you take the time to learn how to use them. When working with a new appliance, always take the time to learn its parts and its basic functionalities. Before using, make sure that they are perfectly working and it doesn’t have any frayed cord or any malfunction. If it has though, it’s best to call in the professionals to have it fixed before using it.
As a general rule, never stick your finger on any appliance while it’s switched on, especially near blades.
7. Learn to extinguish fires
As we work with live fires in the kitchen every day, placing a fire extinguisher nearby is a great safety measure. Learn about the different types of fires and make sure that your fire extinguisher is new and has never been tampered with in any way.
A fire inside the microwave oven can be extinguished by unplugging the appliance and keeping the door closed. On the other hand, you can extinguish an oven fire with a baking soda or the fire extinguisher.
Call the fire department if you can’t douse the fire.
8. Don’t leave your cooking unattended.
The kitchen is not the right place to multitask. Never leave your cooking food unattended except when using a slow cooker. If children or pets are in the kitchen, make sure that you keep a close eye on them as accidents can happen in a blink of an eye.
With all the possible dangers that come with cooking, it’s best to keep a first aid kit in the kitchen as well. Make sure that it’s got everything you need to cleanse and treat a wound like a gauze, burn salve, scissors, alcohol, cotton. Save the nearby hospital and fire department’s numbers on your phone.