The kitchen is where some of the hottest action takes place, but do you know that it’s also the number one spot where child-related accidents take place? We look at the 5 key areas where danger lurks, and how to take the preventive measures to educate and keep your young children safe.
1. The Stove
First up, the stove because that’s where your children may get badly burnt as a result of their curiosity. Practise due diligence while cooking and never leave the stove unattended. Other precautions include:
- Keep the pot handles facing inwards toward the back and try to use the back burners where possible.
- Watch out for your child as you carry pots of hot soup or water.
- Use knob covers and/or stove guards. Find it too troublesome? Then find out if the stove knobs can be detached to prevent your child from turning on the fire in your absence.
- Teach your children about fire hazards and how to avoid foreseeable dangers. Set a good example yourself by adopting a cautious attitude in whatever you do.
- Loose clothing near the stove is a fire risk e.g. pyjamas are better options than nighties.
- Avoid buying clothes that are made from synthetic fabrics as they melt and stick to the skin if they catch on fire.
- Clothing fire also cause more severe burns that cover more skin surface, which often results in hospitalisation and even death.
Does your child have an unending fascination with the refrigerator and its tasty treats? Then it may be time to get a child-lock installed beyond your child’s reach to secure it. You may also want to take additional measures such as the following:
- Clear the fridge of any magnets that your child can break off and swallow. Keep the remaining magnets at a height where your child cannot reach.
- Banish step stools from the kitchen, unless you are getting your child to help with the cooking. This is to prevent your child from dragging the step stool over to the refrigerator in order to work on the lock.
- If you have a water dispenser, then you might want to consider disabling or locking it. Water puddles on the floor or ice may pose a hazard to both children and adults.
Like the refrigerator, kitchen cabinets also provide lots of fun places for children to explore and raid. If you are concerned about safety issues, then don’t forget to note the following steps:
- Move toxic household cleaners such as detergent, bleach, and pesticides to a higher place where your child cannot reach. Consider switching to safer products such as baking soda and vinegar.
- The same goes for medication. Keep them somewhere higher under lock and key. Do not change their original containers to some generic container that used to contain food or this could lead to a fatal mix-up.
- Other things that should be stored in higher grounds include glassware, sharp tools, graters and utensils. If not possible, then make sure you latch your drawers securely and make sure nothing dangerous is left on the counter to tempt your child.
- Set aside a “safe” cabinet where you can store interesting things for your child to play with e.g. wooden spoons and plastic containers. You might want to add a new thing or two from time to time to keep your child occupied. Make sure this cabinet is located far away from places like the stove and oven, and within your supervision radius.
4. Trash Cans
Yet another treasure-land that your child can raid, the trash can is often neglected. But this is precisely the spot where you throw things such as opened cans (with the sharp edges), fruit peels and even glass shards if you break something. Now imagine all these things on the floor and you have a potential major accident just waiting to happen. You can get trash cans with a lockable lid, latch your current one securely or get your child their own trash can to play with.
It’s wonderful when your child decides they are old enough to make their own meals, but woe awaits when they have no clue how to go about cooking in a proper and safe manner! To avoid a situation where your microwave or oven meets an early death, do the following:
- Install a child-lock to prevent your child from opening the microwave or oven.
- Unplug the appliance after use.
- Store the oven in higher places where your child can’t reach.
- As with the stove, teach your children the dangers of touching a hot surface and be cautious in all you do as well.
Aside from the above measures, you can also keep your child out of the kitchen by installing a baby gate and buy a small fire extinguisher just in case. While a few minor accidents are to be expected when it comes to children, do be sure to always keep an eye on your child because there is nothing more tragic than losing your child to an accident that you could have prevented.
Contributed by renonation.
This article was first published in The New Age Parents Feb / Mar 2015 e-magazine