The smell of cookies baking in the oven or tasty sauces simmering on the stovetop is hard to resist for adults and kids alike. Here are a few simple steps to keep your little chef safe from potential burns, whether in the kitchen, around a fireplace or in any other part of your home.
Childproof Your Electrical Outlets and Appliances
- Keep appliance cords out of children’s reach, especially if the appliances produce a lot of heat.
- Cover electrical outlets so that children are unable to insert metal objects, such as forks or keys.
- Keep an eye on appliances such as irons, curling irons or hair dryers that can heat up quickly or stay warm after use. Unplug these items after you’re done.
- Don’t carry or hold a child while cooking on the stove. Instead, move a high chair in the kitchen within reach or sight before you start. Then talk to your children so they know what’s going on. It’s a great way to spend time together.
Check to Make Sure the Water Temperature Is Just Right
- With everything going on, we know the water heater is the last thing on your mind. But a small change can give you one less thing to worry about. To prevent accidental scalding, set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or the manufacturer’s recommended setting.
- Consider installing anti-scald devices in water faucets and showerheads to avoid potential burns.
- Check the water with your wrist or elbow before giving your baby a bath.
- Heat baby bottles by placing them in warm water, and make sure they have cooled to the appropriate temperature before feeding your baby. Do not heat in a microwave oven. These can cause hot spots in the liquid that can burn.
Use the Back Burner and Oven Mitts
- Kids love to reach, so to prevent hot food or liquid spills, simply use the back burner of your stove and turn pot handles away from the edge. Keep hot foods away from the edge of your counters.
- Use oven mitts or potholders and keep hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges. Be careful if your oven mitt is hot; when combined with heat, the moisture can cause scalds.
- Slowly open containers that have been in the microwave, as steam can burn little fingers and faces.
Engage Older Kids in Cooking
- Teach older responsible kids how to cook safely. It will make your life easier if your kids can cook some of their own meals (and maybe yours, too). Teach them never to leave the kitchen while they are using the stove or oven. Don’t forget that the number one cause of home fires is unattended cooking.
- Instruct older kids to use oven mitts or potholders to remove items from the oven or stove and teach them how to use a microwave safely.
Be Careful With the Microwave
- Microwaves can heat unevenly and create hot spots, so avoid using them to heat baby formula or baby milk.
- Don’t allow children to use a microwave by themselves until they are tall enough to reach it safely and are able to understand that steam can cause burns.
Keep Flammable Materials Away From Space Heaters
- Remember to keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn or catch fire.
- Make sure you turn them off when you leave the room.
Install Barriers Such as Safety Gates Around Fireplaces, Ovens and Furnaces
- Make sure your fireplace is protected by a sturdy screen. Remember that glass screens can take a long time to cool down.
- If you are using a fireplace or wood stove, burn only seasoned hardwood such as oak, ash or maple.
- If small children live in or visit your home, use a safety gate around your fireplace or wood stove.
Blow Out Candles and Store Matches Out of Reach
- Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn, and always blow them out when you leave the room or before you go to sleep.
- Make a habit of placing matches, gasoline, and lighters in a safe place, out of children’s reach. Avoid novelty lighters or lighters that look like toys.
- Teach kids never to play with matches, lighters or fireworks. Depending on the age and maturity level of your child, it may be reasonable to use the items with the supervision of an adult. Just be sure that a fire extinguisher, a bucket of water and a phone are close by in case of an emergency.
- Unplug and safely store irons, flatirons and other appliances that might be hot to the touch.