How to Child Proof Your Kitchen
Your kitchen can be one of the most dangerous rooms in the house for babies and children. From appliances to choking hazards, the kitchen is full of safety concerns. Here are some tips to make your kitchen safe for the entire family.
While it might seem like a harmless appliance, there are actually many hazards for children in a refrigerator!
Many items stored in the refrigerator are easily spilled or broken (such as eggs), which can cause a risk of falling on a wet floor. Also, many items such as pickles, jelly, and salad dressing are stored in glass containers, which could break and injure a child. To protect children from these items, store any glass containers or anything easily opened on high shelves in the refrigerator. Do the same in the freezer, if it is accessible.
Also, if you have a side-by-side refrigerator, you may be able to strap the door handles together to make it completely inaccessible. Wrapping a strip of Velcro around the two handles, and moving the Velcro strip to the top of the doors, will make it virtually impossible for a small child to open the refrigerator or the freezer.
Childproofing Cabinets and Drawers
Children are very curious, and when they see you getting "treasures" out of cabinets and drawers, they want to get inside them too! Because you never know what will interest them, it's important to have childproof locks or latches on the cabinets and drawers in your kitchen.
Many adults complain about childproof latches on cabinets, but they are actually very easy to use! Any inconvenience is a small price to pay for your child's safety.
The most recommended latches are the kind that sit just inside the drawers or cabinets. The drawers or cabinets can only be opened about an inch, and then the latch has to be pushed down and unhooked to open the rest of the way. They are a huge advantage to keeping things out of little hands!
Childproofing the Stove and Oven
The stove and oven is one of the most obvious dangers to children in the kitchen. The heat it produces and the hot foods that are often in the oven or on the stove can be deadly to a child. Here are some tips for keeping children safe around the stove and oven:
- Use the only back burners of the stove so that hot foods are not near the edge where children could grab them.
- Turn all pot handles around toward the back of the stove so children cannot reach or grab them.
- Every time a child is near the oven, remind them that it is hot and they are not to touch it. I always tell my daughter that it is hot even if it isn't on. I'd rather her think it is always hot and never touch it than to have to wonder if it is turned on or not.
- Warn everyone in the house when you are using the stove or oven. That way all eyes are watching the children and know that it is hot. I also like to tell everyone when I'm about to open the oven door so that they know to stay out of the kitchen.
Did You Know?
The best way to childproof any room is to see things from a child's perspective! Get down on your hands and knees and look around. If it looks like it might be interesting to a child, it needs to be childproofed!
Small Appliances in the Kitchen
Small appliances that are used in the kitchen, such as mixers or food processors, can create hazards to children as well. Make sure to store them away in childproof cabinets or on high shelves when they are not in use. When they are out, keep the appliances pushed back as far as possible on the counters, and make sure the cords are not near the edges of the counter. Unplug all appliances when not in use, even if they are not yet put away.
Basic Childproofing Tips
These tips apply to all rooms, not just the kitchen. Follow these rules to help prevent safety hazards:
Store food away in closed cabinets or in sealed packages to prevent choking.
Keep cleaners, detergents, and medicines out of reach and in childproof cabinets or drawers.
Use gates to block rooms that you don’t want the child to access. Also use gates at the top and bottom of stairs, and around anything that should be restricted.
Keep windows closed and locked to prevent children from pushing on or falling through screens.
Place outlet covers in all electrical outlets. Be sure to replace them when an outlet is no longer being used.
Scan the floor for anything that could be a tripping hazard and remove it. This includes electrical cords and rugs, which are often culprits.
Follow these tips for a safe kitchen and, most importantly, safe children.