Young children tend to find the kitchen a compelling place and why not? Their parents are there most of the time, there are refrigerators packed with food, colourful cutlery, cupboards and what not. Some children also have a knack for cooking and like to see their parents cook. Most children find the kitchen an interesting place and may like to participate but as a parent, it’s your duty to keep them safe and to set some rules for them.
While some experts suggest the kitchen is a dangerous zone for kids, it’s not always possible to restrict them from entering the room. So you need to play wise. Sit your little one in a high chair, securely strap them and give them something to play. This way their attention will also divert.
- For the younger ones, make the rule of washing hands a must (even adults should follow this). Cleanliness is a basic rule for all.
- Keep knives, forks, scissors and other sharp instruments in a separate drawer and locked safely, out of their reach. Even electric appliances such as food processors and microwaves should be kept in such a manner (like a top shelf) that they cannot reach these.
- Keep appliances unplugged when not in use. Pot handles should be kept towards the back side of the stove and keep your child away when the stove is on. Children are oftentimes drawn to fire.
- While carrying hot foods and especially liquid items like tea or soup, do observe where your child is so as not to trip over them.
- Alcohol should be stored in a place your child cannot reach easily.
- Keep/dispose of plastic bags securely knotted before throwing them in the trash.
- Place fine china, glassware and other breakable items safely in the cupboard.
- Do not keep a cloth on the dining table as toddlers are likely to pull it and in turn, things can fall off the table.
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If your child has an interest in cooking, you should not stop him, even though he is young. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, preparing healthy meals and cooking together “is a valuable life skill that teaches children about nutrition and food safety” like any other subject. Just lay out some basic rules and ask him to be careful.
Having conversations with them on these safety rules is a good way to start. You can start by talking about fire safety and the basics of kitchen rules. Show them too how to follow such rules by doing things safely yourself. Children learn from what they see. Keep your children informed too on who to call when he/she sees a fire starting.