Can you believe our homely smelling kitchens are one of the most dangerous rooms in the house? It really requires particular attention. From hot stoves and ovens we constantly tell our kids not to go near, to bubbling and boiling kettles, ceramic dishes that may break, the kitchen is a minefield for inquisitive little explorers. The good news is that there are products on the market that can give moms & dads more peace of mind when it comes to this vital area. Make sure your oven is always safely locked, with covers on everything likely to get hot to the touch.
If you think you have all the hazards detected, think again. Once you get down to your baby’s level and even try crawling around before you declare your house and kitchen completely baby proof, you’ll be quite surprised how your perspective will change. Look out for the odd hidden plug point under a counter or a sharp or loose tile corner.
General rule – kitchen should be out of bounds. This room in particular has so many hotspots and is full of risks, it’s a good idea to make it completely off-limits when you’re not around.
Dishwasher is locked. The biggest hazard with this appliance is ingesting the detergent. It’s best to get into the habit of placing knives with the blades facing down and leave dishes in the machine for as short a time as possible. Make a point of starting the dishwasher as soon as you add the detergent. Many dishwashers have a lock setting, so check if yours does, otherwise, you can use an appliance lock.
Protect lower cupboards. Harmful cleaning products like drain openers, automatic dishwasher detergents, and furniture polish are toxic. You can use a magnetic lock, or a cupboard latch along with a childproof locked box, or place chemicals high up, well out of reach. Chemical poisoning is another common cause for emergency room cases.
Stove knobs are removed. Use a stove guard—a plastic or metal shield that attaches to the front—which makes it harder for curious hands to reach burners. You can even take the knobs off completely when you’re not cooking. Guards might be better that knob covers, which don’t always fit all stoves. Be sure to cook on the back plates of your stove when possible, and never let pan handles face outwards.
Oven is easy to open. Not only are burns the biggest risk with an oven, but your child could also hit her head with the oven door. If you leave a dish towel hanging from the handle and she pulls on it, she could get a nasty bump. The safest thing to do is install an oven latch or put a baby gate across the entrance to the kitchen.
The microwave is out of reach. It’s best to place it permanently as high as possible, but if yours has to live on the counter and your child’s around, never leave hot food in it, and make sure your child’s not around when you take hot food or liquids out. Never put your microwave on and leave the kitchen.
Secure your refrigerator. If your child is able to reach and pull your fridge open by him/herself, consider fixing a latch to the door and side panel. Make sure you’re know what’s in your fridge and keep choking hazards like grapes, breakables like glass bottles, and medications out of reach on high shelves.
Counter top appliances can be reached. As you can’t avoid leaving a couple of appliances on your counter tops, try to push them back as much as possible. Most toddlers can reach onto a kitchen countertop, and can easily pull down or turn over appliances. Make sure the cords aren’t sticking out and don’t leave a stool or step out, since your child can easily use it to climb up and reach dangerous objects.
Reachable cutlery . Kids love getting stuck into cutlery drawers and playing with the most dangerous items. Try and keep your cutlery in a higher drawer and move your beloved butcher block of knives on the counter, to a top cupboard. This is especially important if you have a child with special needs as they can be more likely to grab dangerous items impulsively.
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