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Kitchen safety for children
12/14/2009 8:15:05 AM

Kitchen safety for children

The kitchen is one of the most dangerous places in the house. More than one third of the total number of injuries involving children under the age of 4 years in Lebanon is due to domestic injuries. Domestic injuries are one of the major causes of death and disability for children under the age of 15.

As a child's mobility and curiosity increases, appropriate supervision becomes essential. Prevention is the key to avoid all kinds of injuries and possibly death. Understanding the dangers of the kitchen and how to prevent them is an essential life tool that all children should learn.

The following items are ways to protect children in your care from unintentional injuries in the kitchen.


Ovens and Ranges
Always make sure the oven and stovetop is clean. If not, clean them thoroughly and safely. Residue grease and food can catch fire.
Keep pot handles turned inward, away from the edge of the stove. Don't wear long, loose sleeves that can hang over the stove while cooking.
Children should be kept out of the kitchen when the oven is being used. The oven door could burn the child as they lean or fall against it especially if they grab onto the door as they are learning to walk.

 

Microwave
Burns associated with the use or misuse of microwave ovens are increasing. The location of the microwave should be inaccessible to young children. This will help prevent them from being exposed to microwave radiation from a malfunctioning oven.

 

Appliances
If appliance cords are allowed to dangle or hang over counter top or table edges then children can pull the appliance onto them and get injured.
Protect children from an electric shock by covering attainable outlets with plastic plug-in protectors.

Environmental Control
Make holes in plastic pouches and plastic wrap covering before heating. This will reduce the risk of a vapor pressure build up and prevent steam burns.
Put a cut in potato skins or other vegetables to reduce the risk of "bursting" after cooking.
Eggs should be removed from the shell before placing in the microwave oven. The egg in a shell may "burst" causing both mechanical and thermal injuries.
Identify containers, dishes and utensils that are safe for use in the microwave oven. Some items are not "microwave safe" and may become very hot or even burst when heated.
When using smooth vessels for heating liquids, place a plastic spoon in the vessel during the heating process. This will prevent the "super heated" phenomenon that may result in liquid spattering and scald burns.

Check for the presence of metal when reheating some "fast food" items. Aluminum foil, staples in bags, twist-ties, etc. may become very hot and ignite combustible containers.
Children who are permitted to operate the microwave oven should be tall enough to be able to safely remove items from the oven. One major risk is facial burns, which occur among children whose height puts their face at the level of the heating chamber of the microwave oven.

 

Never leave food unattended. Unwatched pots can spill over causing fires and other kitchen hazards.

 

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