Needless to say, cooking and kitchen safety awareness should go hand in hand. Chances are, you’re cooking at home more these days. You might be exploring new recipes or learning to make bread. Maybe you’re teaching your children to cook. Or you might be juggling childcare and work while trying to put a meal on the table.
In any case, more time in the kitchen means being more safety conscious. Follow these tips to keep you and your family safe.
Cooking and Fire Safety
• Stay in the kitchen. Don’t leave cooking food unsupervised. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), unattended cooking is the leading contributing factor in cooking-related fires. Don’t become a statistic.
• Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen.
• Never leave food unattended on the stove.
• Never use water to extinguish a grease fire; the fire will spread. Instead, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher or baking soda, or cover a flaming pot with a lid.
• Keep combustible materials away from stoves and open flames.
You can find more tips about kitchen fire safety here.
Kitchen Safety Tips Around Children
It only takes a second for curious hands to cause an accident. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers this advice for keeping children safe in the kitchen.
• Store dangerous products in a high cabinet or in a cabinet with a child safety lock. This includes strong cleaners, lye, furniture polish and dishwasher soap.
• Never transfer dangerous substances into containers that look as if they might hold food as this may tempt a child to taste it.
• Keep knives, forks, scissors and blades separate from “safe” kitchen utensils, and in a latched drawer.
• Unplug appliances when they are not in use so your child cannot turn them on.
• Don’t allow electrical cords to dangle where your child can reach them.
• Always turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so your child can’t reach them.
• Use child-resistant knob covers and block the access to the stove as much as possible.
• Keep matches out of reach and out of sight.
• Don’t warm baby bottles in a microwave oven. The liquid heats unevenly, so there may be pockets of milk hot enough to scald. Some overheated baby bottles have exploded when they were removed from the microwave.
• Do not use small refrigerator magnets that your baby could choke on or swallow.
• Never leave children alone in the kitchen or near candles, fireplaces or other open flames.
General Kitchen Safety Tips
• Don’t set a hot glass dish on a wet or cold surface. The sudden change in temperature can cause the dish to shatter or explode.
• Keep knives sharp. Contrary to popular belief, dull knives cause more injuries than sharp blades.
• Don’t use the same cutting board for raw meat, fruits and vegetables. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends two separate cutting boards, one for raw meat, poultry and seafood, and another for fresh fruits and vegetables, to avoid salmonella.
• Put foods that can spoil, such ads dairy products and meats, in the refrigerator right after using them. Do not let perishable foods sit out on the counter.
• And now, more than ever, wash your hands frequently before, during and after preparing food.