Kitchen Safety Basics

Appliances

Here's how to childproof your appliances.

Stove

  • Make sure stoves, ovens, and burners are in good working order. If fueled by gas, regularly check that there are no leaks and that the pilot lights function properly.
  • Use back burners whenever possible. Some of the most common accidents occur when a child reaches up and grabs a pot or pan, spilling the hot contents over himself. When it's necessary to use the front burners, turn all pot handles toward the back so they are not as easy to reach.
  • Keep flammable objects such as curtains, towels, oven mitts and debris away from the stove.
  • Make sure handles on pots and pans are secure, not loose. Tighten them if they are wobbly, or if they can't be fixed, throw the pots and pans out.
  • Place childproof covers on stove and oven knobs or remove knobs entirely from the stove so that burners and oven cannot be turned on easily by a child. Knobs can be stored conveniently in a drawer on a shelf, out of your child's reach.
  • For extra safety, use a stove guard that helps prevent little hands from touching hot surfaces.
  • Check for hot surfaces. Some units are poorly insulated and the outside may get hot enough to cause burns. Check the outside of your oven when it's at roasting temperature to make sure it's only warm, not hot, to the touch. If it does become too hot, install a safety gate at the kitchen during cooking times.
  • Always turn the oven off when not in use, and never use it to heat a room.
  • Be careful of opening the door of a hot oven when a child is standing by. He may try to touch the inside of the door, or may get a face full of very hot air.
  • Bolt the stove to the wall if you have a low oven or broiler door so that the stove will not tip over should a child open the door and stand on it.

Refrigerator and Freezers

  • Use a childproof door latch, Velcro or buckle type, to secure the door shut.
  • Remove refrigerator magnets. Children can choke on small items, and colorful refrigerator magnets are particularly enticing.
  • Warn children not to touch ice-cold surfaces with their tongues. Your child's tongue will stick to the surface.
  • For added precaution keep glass bottles and jars off easily accessible shelves and never store batteries or film or other interesting inedible objects in the refrigerator.
  • Remove doors from old appliances you are replacing as soon as the new ones arrive. Refrigerators as well as coolers, freezers, and other larger airtight appliances can entrap a child who many crawl inside and be unable to get out. Also, as soon s your child is old enough to understand, instruct her never to hide in any appliance.

Dishwasher

  • Never leave sharp implements including knives, inside the dishwasher. No doubt, your child will see you placing dishware into and out of the dishwasher and will want to do the same. If you do place sharp utensils in the dishwasher, make sure they are pointed downwards during the cycle, and remove them as soon as they are washed. Also, remove breakable items immediately.
  • Use a childproof appliance latch for added protection.

Small Appliances

  • Unplug toasters, blenders, coffee makers, food processors, and other small appliances when not in use and store them out of the reach of children.
  • Use cord shorteners to take up the slack in appliance cords so that the cords are less likely to dangle.
  • Never use a knife or other metal object to unclog a toaster. This could cause electrocution. If something becomes lodged in a toaster, unplug it and wait a few moments before trying to extract it. Shake it loose, or use a wooden spoon to dislodge it.

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