Photo by Pete

Ideally, we’d all like to protect our kids from danger at all costs – but we can’t keep children locked up away from harm, so we must take steps to ensure they are as safe as possible where we can. Children are most commonly injured in the home, and especially the kitchen. A child’s naturally inquisitive nature means they might not realise what is safe and what isn’t, and this is particularly dangerous in the kitchen where there are sharp objects, open flames, hot stoves, heavy appliances and dangerous chemicals.

Prevention is always better than cure, so if you have a very small child of three years old or younger, consider using safety guards on the entrances to the kitchen while cooking. This prevents them wandering in and getting under your feet while you’re cooking, and prevents the possibility of injury. If you have an open plan kitchen which is combined with a living space, try to make sure the kids have plenty of activities to keep them occupied away from the main cooking area.

Child locks on cupboards and drawers are a good idea; that way a child can’t get access to sharp knives in the drawer and won’t be able to reach the cleaning products under the sink. Alcohol or medication should ideally be stored away from the kitchen, but if you keep it there then try to keep it in a locked, high cupboard that’s out of reach.

Burns and scalds are especially common in smaller children, even from things as simple as hot water from the sink or steam from the dishwasher. Try to place hot liquids or food in the middle of a table or surface away from the edge where they can’t be yanked or knocked off. Keep pan handles turned in towards the wall and if you’re not using any of the burners then make sure they are turned off. Most modern homes have electric stoves in kitchen, and these are much better for families with young children as they eliminate the need for an open flame.

No matter how many safety measures you take, there’s always the chance that there will be an accident, and it’s best to be prepared. Keep a fire blanket next to your stove in case of a pan fire; a small fire extinguisher is a safety essential for the whole home, but especially in the kitchen. A smoke alarm should also be fitted in or near the kitchen to alert you to anything that’s burning.

If someone is injured in the kitchen, keep a fully stocked first aid kit nearby to treat minor burns, scalds and cuts – and of course if you’re in any doubt about the severity of an injury, call a Doctor right away.