Kitchen Safety Tips

Read these 35 Kitchen Safety Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Child Safety Products tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How do stove guards work?

Stove Guard

Minimize your children's risk of getting burned. An important product to further safety in the kitchen is a stove guard or shield, which puts a barrier between your hot burners and your child's hands. The guard attaches to the stove so children can't reach past it but adults can still access the burners. Prince Lionheart and Safety 1st are two of the brands that make this kitchen safety product. Both are adjustable to fit your stove style and dimensions. As with any products for kitchen safety for kids, make sure that you follow directions to correctly install the guard, and that it is secure. Test it yourself before allowing your child in the kitchen. Also, never rely on this barrier alone to keep your child safe. Still take the time to teach your child that the stove is hot, and never leave a child unattended in the kitchen.

   
Do I need wall anchors in the kitchen?

Wall Anchor

When you think of employing home safety tips in the kitchen, perhaps an obvious place to start is by securing your appliances to prevent them from tipping. Consider using a wall anchor to hold your oven, refrigerator and washer and drier in place. That way even if your child climbs up or pulls on it, it will not be able to fall on him or her. Wall anchors are also available for small appliances like toasters and microwaves. Most wall anchors consist of a simple strap or cable that that attaches to the back of an appliance with a snap-hook fastener. The other end of the strap screws into the wall. The best place to put a wall anchor is in the middle to upper portion of the appliance. In addition to keeping your curious child safe, these wall anchors can also be valuable to have during hurricanes and tornados that could dislodge unsecured small and large items. So on many fronts, these are an important part of your strategy to ensure kitchen safety for kids.

   

Cook Thoroughly

Keep your family's food safe by cooking it thoroughly! Red meat (cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit) should have its juices run clear. Fish should flake with a fork. Scramble or cook eggs until the yolk and white aren't runny. Avoid Caesar salad, homemade mayonnaise, chocolate mousse, or any other recipe that calls for raw or partially cooked eggs.

   

Store Food Right

Store your foods safely by keeping your refrigerator as cold as possible. The temperature should be just short of freezing your food. Your freezer should be at zero degrees Fahrenheit.

Keep fresh meat, poultry, and fish on a plate, or wrapped in a second plastic bag to keep their raw juices from contaminating other food. If you aren't going to eat them for a few days, put them in the freezer to stop the growth of bacteria.

   
How can I safely handle meat in the kitchen?

Handling Meat in the Kitchen

Children are at a much higher risk for bacterial infections such as E.coli. Therefore it is vital to take extra precautions in kitchen safety and sanitation, especially when it comes to handling meat. Don't store raw fish in your refrigerator for more than 24 hours. Raw poultry or ground beef will keep for 1-2 days, while raw red meat will keep for 3-5 days. Be sure to clean up any leaks of meat juice from countertops and your hands. Never place cooked meat on a plate used for raw meat. Cook all meat and poultry at a minimum oven temperature of 325°F.

   

Serve with Clean Stuff

When it's time to serve your meal, don't use the dishes or utensils that you used to prepare the food. Use clean fresh utensils. Remember that raw meats especially contain bacteria that loves to cling to utensils!

   

Refrigerate

Don't leave any perishable foods out more than two hours. If your child is bringing his lunch to school, use an insulated carrier with a cold pack. Teach him to keep his lunch out of direct sunlight, and off the radiator.

   
How can I teach my kids kitchen safety?

Teaching Kids Kitchen Safety

Children learn by watching and doing. But they need verbal assistance as well. Therefore, take the time to teach them safety in the kitchen. As you cook, handle kitchen products properly. Take the time to explain how each product works, as it's needed for each recipe. What you do and what you say will go a long way in teaching kids the safe way to work in the kitchen.

   

Keep it Clean

Bacteria can also live on hands, kitchen towels, sponges, cutting boards, and knives. Throughout food preparation, keep everything clean with hot soapy water, and avoid contaminating anything with the juices of raw food. Replace your sponge every few weeks, and use a plastic rather than wooden cutting board.

   
What are some basics of kitchen safety?

Keeping Your Kitchen Safe

The first place to start with home safety tips in the kitchen is with cleanliness. Before handling food, you should always wash your hands in warm soapy water. Scrub them for at least fifteen seconds and rinse thoroughly. Wash all fresh fruits and vegetables. Keep countertops clean as well as any pots, pans or cooking utensils. Cutting boards, too, need regular attention in order to ensure they are not harboring bacteria that can be harmful to you and your children.

   

Keep it cool!

Hidden bacteria in your meal may cause food borne illness in your family. Bacteria will multiply to dangerous levels between 60 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Stay out of this danger zone with proper cold storage, handling, and cooking.

Cold air must always circulate in the fridge, so don't overcrowd it.

   
What are some fire prevention tips in the kitchen?

Fire and Kitchen Safety

Fire is a major hazard in the kitchen. That's why kitchen safety for kids should always include a run-down of fire-safe behavior. Wear short sleeves in the kitchen, as long sleeves are more apt to catch fire. Use oven mitts and never a towel to move hot pans. The loose parts of the towel can fall onto a hot burner and catch on fire. Show children how to use a fire extinguisher. Keep at least one nearby -- and regularly serviced!

   

Baking Soda

Did you ever have a pan fire happen when you were cooking? If so, you know how scary – and dangerous – that can be. Therefore, take the risk out of using your stovetop by having baby soda on hand at all times. While this substance is usually used for baking, it can also double as a fire extinguisher if needed. Here are some home safety tips in the kitchen on how to use the baking soda if a small cooking fire occurs: First turn off the gas or electricity right away, then sprinkle handfuls of the baking soda at the base of the flames. As soon as you have it under control, call your local fire department for help, just in case the flames re-ignite. Also, a few more things you should remember when it comes to safety in the kitchen is never use baking soda on deep fat fryers, since this could cause splattering. Also never use water on an electrical fire.

   

Leftovers

If you have a lot of leftovers, divide portions into small shallow containers for quick and safe cooling in the refrigerator. Keep meats and their stuffing in separate containers.

When reheating leftovers, kill the bacteria that have been growing by heating thoroughly to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring sauces, soups, and gravy to a boil.

   
Is there a product that will prevent my child from getting burned on the stove?

Stove Top Guards: Simply Effective

Keep a stove top guard on your range. This will prevent your child from reaching pots, pan, and hot burners. Made of sturdy plastic, the stove top shield mounts easily. It's always a good idea to get into the habit of turning pot and pan handles toward the back of the stove. Whenever possible, use only the back burners. The stove top shield is great additional protection to help prevent accidental scalding.

   
How can I prevent my child from getting injured in the kitchen?

Cushions in the Kitchen

Protect your children from avoid cuts, bumps, and bruises in the kitchen. Use edge and corner cushions on countertops. They can also be used window sills, tables, or anywhere there are sharp corners in your house. The cushions are adhesive and easy top apply. In addition, they often come in a variety of colors -- usually browns, whites, and blacks. That way they blend in to your décor while being functional at the same time!

   
How do I keep my cutting boards free of bacteria?

Cutting Boards Are Safety Products, Too

But only if you keep them clean! Choose a smooth, durable and nonabsorbent surface. Plastic is less porous than wood, making it less likely to harbor bacteria, and easier to clean. Wash your board with hot soapy water, and scrub brush to remove food and dirt particles. After washing it, sanitize your board in the dishwasher or by rinsing it in dilute chlorine bleach solution of 1-teaspoon bleach to 1-gallon water.

   
What is a cord shortener?

Cord Shortener

Having long appliance cords dangling can be a particularly dangerous situation when you have young children in your kitchen. Use a cord shortener to neatly wrap up the extra cord and prevent your child from pulling on it, tripping over it, or even wrapping it around his or her neck. All of these scenarios can be very hazardous and should be addressed as part of your kitchen safety for kids' strategy. Other important safety hints include pushing small appliances as far back as possible to get them away from your child's hands and unplugging small appliances after each use to prevent possible burns. When you take these simple steps, you are making great strides in kitchen safety.

   

USDA Cold Storage Chart

For a full chart showing how long EVERY food can be stored in the fridge, check out: http://www.poolfence.com/foodsafety.htm

Great resource!

If you have any question about food safety, call the USDA's hotline at 1-800-535-4555. You can also send for a free guide, "Preventing Food borne Illness - A Guide to Safe Food Handling" by writing:

   
How should I store silverware?

Silverware Storage

How do you store your silverware in your drawers? It does make a difference. Experts in kitchen safety for kids recommend that you put knives and forks away with the sharp areas facing toward the back of your cabinet. This is important so that when you, or your children, reach for utensils, you don't get injured in the process. To help make your silverware easier to access, also use a silverware holder in the drawer, or a divider to organize the items. You can find these products in discount houses, department stores and kitchen stores and they are usually made out of plastic or wood. Be sure to measure your drawer before purchasing one, however, to be sure the style you select will fit well. In addition, if your have young children in your house, don't forget to put a safety latch on any drawers that have sharp silverware or other dangerous items. This is key to having safety in the kitchen.

   
Is there a product that will keep my child's fingers from getting caught in drawers and cabinets?

Protect Little Fingers in the Kitchen

Cabinets and drawers can't stay closed all the time! Help prevent little fingers from getting injured. Install finger protectors on the insides of your drawers and cabinets. They stay firmly in place preventing sudden re-closing before your child has had a chance to remove his/her hand. Spacers are included so that the protectors can be used in virtually every size of cabinet and drawer. Adults are able to release the protectors easily with one hand. The protector automatically relock when closed.

   
How can I keep my child from opening the refrigerator?

Keep Kids Out of the Fridge!

Kids love to open and close doors. Use a secure press-lock on your refrigerator to keep the door closed to curious tots. Its sturdy design ensures that it will stay effective after repeated opening and closing by adults. Its also very easy to install. Refrigerator latches accommodate top-and-bottom as well as side-by-side refrigerator models. Keep in mind that two latches are required for side-by-side models.

   
What can I do to prevent my child from turning the stove on?

Cover Your Stove Knobs

Stove knob covers are an ideal way to keep your kids from turning on the oven or range burners. Made of clear plastic, child-resistant domes cover each knob. They are hinged for easy adult access. The knobs are also heat-resistant, an important factor for everyone's safety in the kitchen! Even better the covers are clear, which means they will match any stove design.

   
What is a child-safe feeder?

Child-Safe Feeder

Many parents worry that their baby will choke. But the latest child-safe feeders take the worry out of mealtime and are an important piece of your kitchen safety for kids' strategy. Baby food feeders are in the shape of a modified Popsicle and consist of a mesh cover on top of a plastic ring. Put some fresh fruit, vegetables or other foods in the mesh top and let your baby hold the attached ring and suck on the food, getting the flavor through the net. This inexpensive kitchen safety item helps your baby learn to enjoy many foods, without yet having to be able to chew large piece and swallow them. This tool is an important element in your plan to incorporate kitchen safety for kids.

   
Do they make child-resistant caps for cleaning products?

Child-Resistant Caps

Many kitchen cleaners and chemicals can be harmful to babies and children. Therefore, look for products that have child-resistant caps to prevent curious hands from opening them. This is an important way to ensure safety in the kitchen. Of course, your dangerous products should be stored safely in high cabinets that are protected by childproof latches. But the reality is that some determined youngsters have figured out how to open even well-secured places, so it is always a good idea to have a multi-faceted kitchen safety plan in place. That way, if you forget to put a cleaning product away, at least you know it will be difficult for your child to open it. Be sure to keep your products in their original containers as well, so the child-resistant caps can be effective to create kitchen safety for kids.

   
Are tablecloths dangerous for babies?

Tablecloths

When it comes to kitchen safety for kids, you need to look beyond the obvious. For instance, tablecloths can be very pretty, but did you know they could actually be very dangerous if you have babies or toddlers in your house? Many young children like to pull on things, which could pose a hazard when it comes to your table covering. A baby who yanks on the tablecloth could dislodge it – and anything on it -- and lose his or her balance in the process. Most home safety tips in the kitchen will remind you that if your table is set with dishes and silverware, or if you have other heavy objects or a centerpiece on it. These can land on your child. If you find you must use a tablecloth for a special occasion, be sure to wait until the last minute to put it on and don't leave your child near it unattended. You might also try using tablecloth clamps or weights to hold the cloth in place. Just make sure if you try one of these options that they are child-safe first.

   

Thaw and Marinate Safely

Always thaw food in the microwave or refrigerator. If you thaw food on the counter, bacteria will be growing on the outer layers before the center has finished thawing. Also, avoid marinating your food at room temperature; use the fridge.

   
If I have baking soda, do I still need a fire extinguisher?

Fire Extinguisher

You should be sure to have a fire extinguisher located centrally in your kitchen within easy reach should a grease fire occur. It is important that you don't keep the extinguisher right next to the stove, since you could be burned if a fire occurred and you had to lean over to access it. Yet select a spot for it that is in plain sight and won't be hard to get in seconds. Most home safety tips in the kitchen suggest mounting it by the kitchen door. Also, never rely on one fire extinguisher for many rooms. Have several handy in various locations throughout your house so you can respond right away in a firer emergency.

   
What type of emergency information should I leave by my phone?

Emergency Forms

In your effort to ensure kitchen safety for kids, it is important to be prepared for anything. That is why parents should always keep a list of emergency phone numbers handy. Consider leaving this important document either in a very visible spot by the phone or even stick it on the refrigerator. Make sure everyone in your home knows it is there, and point it out to babysitters or any friends or relatives who stay with your children while you aren't home. You should include emergency information on this list such as your cell phone numbers, the poison control center, your local police and fire department and the pediatrician. If you regularly leave your child under someone else's care, it is also a good idea to draft a “consent to treat” letter that gives permission to the caregiver to authorize care for your child in an emergency. Include your child's insurance information as well. Understand that you need to complete a separate form for each child. This is an important way to ensure safey in the kitchen -- and beyond -- for your kids even when you aren't there.

   
What else can I do to keep my baby safe in the kitchen?

Playpen

An important step in home safety tips for the kitchen is not just to contain the dangers that exist within your room, but also to contain your child when necessary, to keep him or her safe. That's where a baby playpen can come in handy. Even with all of your precautions in place, when you are cooking, it is never a good idea to have a baby on the go near your feet. Therefore, keep a playpen right in the kitchen, or nearby, so you can pull it in when you need it. There are many models to choose from and many are lightweight and can fold up for easy storage. In addition, lots of the popular styles today have mesh sides and padded floors, so they are comfortable for your baby and will help keep him or her happy. Just put a few of your baby's favorite toys inside for play, or use it as a portable crib for naptime. (The playpen is usually safe for babies until they are able to try crawling out of it.) Using a playpen will give you peace of mind and also ensure safety in the kitchen for your baby.

   
What are anti-scalding devices?

Anti-Scalding Device

You may already have an anti-scalding device installed for your kitchen sink and the sinks in your home. But if you don't, adding one is an important part of your efforts to implement safety in the kitchen. Some of the popular anti-scalding products automatically shut off your water when it reaches a certain temperature. Others help to keep the temperature of your running water the same even if the water pressure alters. Both of these methods can help prevent your child from getting burned by hot water. Check to be sure your anti-scalding devise is working properly, as they can break over time. Also, never rely on these alone. Experts recommend you keep water heaters at or below 120 degrees if you have children in your home. This is just one more way to ensure kitchen safety for kids.

   
How can I safely use a garbage can?

Garbage can

The saying, “Out of sight, out of mind,” is particularly true when it comes to your garbage can. Purchase a model that has a tight lid on it and store the whole thing underneath your kitchen counter where your child won't see it. This is an important step in creating safety in the kitchen, since many of the things you throw in your garbage can could be dangerous if they got into a child's hands. Childproofing experts also recommend that you go an extra step toward kitchen safety and sanitation by adding a safety lock on the cabinet to further restrict access to your garbage can. If you have no room to stow away your garbage can, one of the many home safety tips for your kitchen that you can try is finding a toilet lock that fits securely on the can to hold the cover tight. This will help prevent your child from being able to open the can.

   

Antibacterial Wipes

Don't let your kitchen become a spreading ground for germs. Always keep a container of antibacterial wipes for your counters on hand. This is an easy-to-use way to clean up spills, wipe down countertops and clean off your tables, chairs and appliance surfaces. The handy, disposable wipes are made by a variety of popular cleaning brands and come in different scents to leave your kitchen not only looking, but also smelling, clean. While a package of the wipes may cost slightly more than using a paper towel sprayed with cleaner, the convenience and time savings more than makes up for the difference in price. The best part is by using these wipes, you can help stop the spread of bacteria and ensure kitchen safety and sanitation.

   

Shop Smart

Avoid bringing home dangerous levels of bacteria from your grocery store by following this simple rule: Buy cold foods last, and get them home fast. Consider using a portable cooler to keep food cold in the car.

At the store, make sure refrigerated foods are cold to the touch, and frozen foods are rock solid. Always check the expiration dates, and never buy dented, cracked or bulging cans.

   
Do I need a highchair for my baby?

Highchair

A safe highchair for baby can be key when it comes to your kitchen safety for kids' strategy. Invest in a sturdy model that will grow with your child. Highchairs range in price from about $50 on up to a few hundred, depending on the brand and model you choose. You can opt for a plastic version or one made of wood. Some of the deluxe styles available today also have music and toys attached to the feeding tray. These are nice features to help keep your child interested and engaged even when sitting. It is a particularly good idea to put your child in the hairchair when you are ready to cook. This keeps him or her away from the stove and not underfoot. Always use the restraint belt provided to keep your child secure, though. Otherwise, your child could try to climb out, which could be dangerous and would undermine your kitchen safety strategy. If you plan to use the highchair often, look for comfy padded seats and reclining back positions to make it easy to feed your baby. Make sure the highchair you select can be adjusted to fit your baby now and later, and also can be pulled up to the table for easy and safe feeding.

   
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Guru Spotlight
Mary White