Let caution reign when kids are in the kitchen

Parents go to great lengths to keep their kids safe. From the moment a woman first learns she’s pregnant to the day teenagers head off to college, parents make myriad decisions in the name of keeping their children safe.

Homes are safe havens for families, but dangers still lurk around every corner and inside every cabinet. That’s especially true in the kitchen. Real estate professionals often note the importance of kitchens. According to Realtor.com, kitchen remains the most mentioned room in home listings. Nearly 70 percent of listings on the home buying and selling website mentioned kitchens, while less than 50 percent mentioned bedrooms.

Families spend a lot of time in their kitchens, so it’s no surprise these gathering spaces routinely attract curious kids. Kitchen safety is essential in every home, but it’s especially important in homes with young children. The following are some areas of the kitchen where parents can direct their focus as they try to keep their children safe.

Beneath the sink
Many families store cleaning products beneath their kitchen sinks. But that can prove hazardous if parents cannot prevent kids from accessing this area. According to the National Capital Poison Center, a disproportionate percentage of the millions of poison exposures in the United States each year affect children younger than six. It might be convenient to store cleaning products beneath the kitchen sink, but such products should be kept higher up in cabinets kids cannot reach until they’re old enough to know it’s not safe to ingest these cleaners.

Stoves
Stoves pose a significant safety risk to youngsters, even when they’re not in use. When the stove is being used, make sure kids do not go near electric or gas burners, where curious hands may reach up and get burned. Kids also should be taught to steer clear when their parents are cooking on the stove top, as hot oil from pans can spray out and harm youngsters who aren’t paying attention. Parents also can install knob covers that prevent curious kids from turning burners on when no one is looking.

Dishwasher
Dishwashers may not seem threatening, but they can pose a safety risk to youngsters. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that children should not be allowed to load and unload dishwashers until they are between the ages of seven and nine. Knives and forks in dishwashers can be sharp, posing a safety risk to curious youngsters. When loading the dishwasher, make sure the blades and prongs of knives and forks are facing downward, and never preload detergent, which can be harmful to kids if ingested. Always make sure the dishwasher is securely closed when in use so kids cannot open the door and potentially suffer burns from hot water.

Countertops
Cutlery sets kept in blocks on countertops should be stored away from the edge of the counter, ideally along a back wall that kids cannot reach. In addition, countertop appliances like coffee machines, toasters, blenders, and slow cookers should be kept beyond the reach of young children.

Families spend a lot of time in their kitchens, where curious kids can easily find trouble. Parents can reduce kids’ risk for kitchen accidents and injuries with some simple safety strategies.

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