Childproof Kitchens

Learn how to protect your little helpers with Child's safety tips.

The kitchen is filled with sights, sounds, and smells that appeal to curious young children. Close your eyes for a second, and that unstoppable toddler is off and running, often toward the most dangerous item he can get his hands on. In fact, approximately 2.5 million children are injured or killed by accidents and hazards in the home each year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Here's some advice on keeping kids safe in one of the most important rooms in the house.

  • Because of the risk of painful steam burns, never hold a child while cooking.
  • Post all emergency numbers -- pediatrician, parents' work numbers, poison control center -- near the telephone for babysitters and grandparents.
  • Store a fire extinguisher out of kids' reach, but in an easily accessible place for adults.
  • Use the back burners of range tops whenever possible, and be sure to turn handles toward the rear of the stove.
  • Move all cleaning materials, knives, and plastic bags out of children's reach. If you have children under 5, all kitchen cabinets, drawers, and appliances should be outfitted with safety latches that protect little fingers. Several new products make childproofing simpler than ever. The Tot-Lok Starter Set by Safety 1st is an easy-to-install magnetized latch on the inside of cabinet doors. A quick swipe of a magnetized key releases the hold for access by adults. The Oven Lock, also by Safety 1st, mounts on the front and side of a standard oven or microwave with a heat-resistant adhesive to safeguard prying toddlers. The Stove Guard, by Prince Lionheart, keeps pot handles out of reach with a heat-resistant, clear plastic shield.
  • Raise pictures, magnets, and other small choking hazards on the front of your refrigerator door. Then relocate glass bottles and breakables from the lower shelves. A good safety latch, like the Refrigerator Latch by Kid Co, is also helpful. It automatically locks the refrigerator door when it shuts.
  • Store glass, china, and small choking hazards such as toothpicks and rubber bands out of reach in sealed cabinets.
  • Unplug appliance cords and keep them tied up when not in use. "A dangling electrical cord can be irresistible for inquisitive children," says Angela Mickalide, Ph.D., program director for the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. And be sure to seal off electrical outlets with safety plugs. The Standard Outlet Cover by KidCo, automatically covers outlets when a plug is removed.
  • Store garbage and garbage bags in a locked cabinet, or place trash in a child-safe can. The Trash Can with Locking Lid, by the Container Store, has metal latches to keep kids and animals out of the garbage.

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Copyright © 2002.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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