Thanksgiving Day is about giving thanks. It’s also about food, family, and friends. This means spending a great deal of time in the kitchen with lots of people around, preparing for the big meal. The oven will be turned up high baking apple pie and pumpkin bread, and the stovetop burners will be working overtime in order to have everything ready.
And, for some reason, no matter how hard most families try to move the festivities to other rooms in the house, everyone always ends up back in the same place…the kitchen. This means people of all ages are spending the majority of their time in a potential Thanksgiving “danger zone”.
This is especially concerning when it comes to babies and children. Fortunately there are preventative measures we can take to help keep our kids safe in the kitchen this Thanksgiving (and really every day of the year).
Here are 10 tips to help keep your kids safe in the kitchen as we prepare for and celebrate Thanksgiving:
1. CLOSE ADULT SUPERVISION AT ALL TIMES. No child should be left alone in a kitchen under any circumstances. It only takes a second for something unwanted to happen. Even if there are a lot of people around, be sure a responsible adult is specifically assigned to watch your child(ren).
2. Children should not be allowed to use the oven, stove, or any appliance in the kitchen.
3. Encouraging the kids to help out with the meal is always fun and educational, but it’s a good idea to do this at the kitchen table, not on the countertops where there may be easier access to potential dangers such as appliances and cooktops.
4. It’s always safest to use the back burners when cooking, and to turn pot/pan handles towards the back where little hands can’t reach. Also, never leave anything cooking unattended in the kitchen.
5. Talk to your children (starting at a young age) about never going near the oven, stove, cook top, and/or any heat producing appliance, and create a “KID FREE ZONE” around all of these. It’s helpful to put tape or some type of barrier to remind kids of this “forbidden” area. Please keep in mind that even if you have a “KID FREE ZONE” set up, adult supervision is still a must.
6. Use oven locks, stove knob covers, and stove guards as added layers of protection around appliances. If possible, remove the stove/oven knobs when not in use.
7. Never carry hot liquids (including coffee, soup, hot chocolate, hot cider, etc.), while carrying a baby or child, and never transfer hot liquids over a baby or child. For example, don’t pass coffee around the table if there is a baby or child anywhere close. Also, never eat/drink anything hot while holding a little one (or a big one). You never know when an unwanted spill will happen.
8. Always move hot items and sharp items away from the edges of counters and tables. Never use candles when there are children of any age present. And be sure to keep all matches, lighters, and any other ignition sources locked up, out of reach of the kids.
9. Never leave electrical cords dangling over the edges of countertops. Children may tug on them and pull potentially hot and/or heavy appliances over on top of them.
10. Avoid using placemats and table clothes when there are children around. They can pull on them, causing not only a huge mess, but hot items to spill.
11. So I know I only said there would be 10 tips, but I couldn’t resist one more because it’s SO important. Please be sure there are working smoke detectors in your home (and/or the home where you will be spending Thanksgiving). There should be one on every level of the home (including the basement), outside of every sleeping area, and in each bedroom. Go check right now!
Have a Happy and SAFE Thanksgiving!