Kitchens can be hazardous for kids, but with these tips, you’ll be able to minimize the risks and turn your kitchen into an enjoyable and safe space to create memories with your family.
For new parents, the kitchen can feel like a landmine. Especially when your little one starts to become more curious and wants to participate, it can be hard to make sure you are doing everything you can to keep them safe. The good news is that you can greatly minimize the risk of household accidents by using these tips to keep your kitchen safe for babies, toddlers, and young children:
1. Install safety locks
Without childproofing, your kiddo might have access to unsafe foods and household items that could be hazardous. There are a number of places in the kitchen that you can install safety locks—lower cabinets, drawers, refrigerators, and ovens. Depending on the configuration of your kitchen, you may be able to use Sliding Cabinet Locks for lower cabinets. Drawer & Cabinet Tab Latches are perfect for drawers and cabinets. Adjustable Strap Locks can be used on ovens, refrigerators, and trash cans.
2. Store sharp tools out of reach
Knives are some of the most dangerous kitchen objects, and you’ll want to make sure that your kiddos don’t have access to them. To ensure their safety, relocate kitchen knives to an upper cabinet out of reach or a locked cabinet. Other sharp objects in your kitchen could include a can opener, the edge of an aluminum foil dispenser, and scissors. We recommend going through your entire kitchen to discover potential hazards you might not think of right away.
3. Have kids help out safely
A great way to allow your kiddo to be included in the kitchen is a Learning Tower. With a learning tower, your toddler has a sturdy place to stand and practice their independence. You can allow them to pour ingredients, set up sensory activities, or help out with food prep.
Kids are often curious and want to be helpful while you cook, so getting some kid-friendly knives is a great solution. They are plastic, safer than normal metal knives, and are designed for children’s small hands. We don’t recommend using these until your kiddo is 2 or 3, and you should always supervise them while they’re helping in the kitchen.
4. Check for sharp edges and corners
When your little one reaches a certain height, sharp countertop corners can become a danger to their precious heads and eyes. The countertop always seems to be the perfect height for kiddos to bump their head! Gel Corner Protectors are the perfect solution to protect your little one from injuring themselves on sharp kitchen corners.
5. Keep floors and counters safe from bacteria
The kitchen is a prime location for harmful bacteria to grow, especially the floors and countertops. Because toddlers love to play on the floor, it’s important to regularly clean and disinfect your floors. We also recommend using nonslip mats or rugs to avoid slipping hazards. Disinfecting wipes are a convenient way to clean the countertops and get rid of bacteria and viruses, and should especially be used after handling raw meat of any kind.
6. Childproof stove knobs or remove them
If your stove has knobs on the front that are within reach of a toddler, we recommend using Appliance Knob Covers to ensure that your little one doesn’t unknowingly turn on burners or start a gas leak. You could also remove the knobs entirely, and only put them on when the stove is in use. Remember to regularly check that your oven and burners are in good working order and that there are no gas leaks.
7. Be careful with hot foods
A handle sticking out over the stove is a big temptation for toddlers to reach up and grab, which could cause serious injury if a hot pan and food falls down on them. When cooking on the stove, make sure to keep pot handles away from the edge of the stove. If possible, it’s a good idea to use the burners on the back of the stove so the heat is out of reach of curious toddlers.
Always make sure your kiddo is in a safe place when opening the oven or transporting hot food from one place to another. Because you can’t always monitor their every move, one way to ensure they stay away from hazards is to block them out of the kitchen with a baby gate or play yard. You can also put them in a high chair within your view, or a learning tower as mentioned above.
8. Check your smoke detectors
With a little one taking up so much of our brain space, it’s naturally a worry that something will be forgotten in the kitchen. It’s important to make sure your smoke detectors and other alarms are working properly in your home. Experts recommend checking smoke detectors every 6 months. Pro tip: always have extra smoke detector batteries at home so you can replace them in a snap!
9. Be mindful of outlets and appliances
Some small kitchen appliances can be dangerous if small kiddos have access to them, such as toasters, coffee makers, blenders, and stand mixers. It’s best to get into the habit of unplugging electrical appliances when they’re not in use, and protect your little one’s fingers with Plug Protectors or Sliding Outlet Covers.
10. Communicate with them
There’s no such thing as too early to teach your kids about safety. Even if they can’t understand you yet, you can still start using safety phrases such as “no,” “owie,” “hot,” and “adults only.” Then, by the time they can understand, you will be in the habit of narrating and looking out for hazards. Once your kiddo is big enough to start helping out, continue to communicate with them about the potential dangers of the kitchen, and be sure to always supervise them.
Taking a few simple precautions can greatly reduce the risk of your family taking an unfortunate trip to the emergency room. There are many ways to protect your little one from the hazards of the kitchen while allowing them to explore their natural curiosity. You can shop our entire childproofing line for ideas on how to babyproof the whole house!