How do you encourage your budding chef while making sure they don’t lose a finger? Read on for some great kitchen safety tips for kids.
A Safe Kitchen Is a Fun Kitchen
Exploring the world of food and the kitchen with kids can be the first step on a lifelong journey of culinary adventures. But there are a few safety tips you should keep in mind so that cooking with children is fun for everyone.
You don’t need to buy special equipment or kitchen appliances for cooking with kids. Most of them are not safer or less safe than the regular ones – but they are often overpriced. Teaching your kids how to use regular kitchen equipment early sets them up for success later. Of course, it might be fun to buy them a kid-size apron, oven mitts, and a no-slip step stool to get started.
Hot Meal Cooking: Kitchen Safety for Kids
If you let your children help in the kitchen, you should first talk to them about the basics. Teach them to avoid a hot stove so that they don’t burn themselves. You could think about getting an induction stove if you want to remodel your kitchen anyway because the stove plate only gets hot if a cooking pot stands on it.
But if you really want to be safe with your kitchen as-is, use the rear cooktops when possible. That way, small children can’t pull the pots from the hotplate. Turn the handles of pans and pots to the back so that kids cannot reach them. Don’t leave the stove unattended.
Kitchen Safety: Practice Makes Perfect
If you start talking about kitchen safety with your kids when they’re young, they’ll be safety experts as they get older. So let them hone those skills, teaching food safety and child safety tips as you go.
Three-year-olds can already help with cutting. Be sure that they’re sitting on a safe chair while helping. In the beginning, start teaching kids to cut with plastic knives or butter knives. They can use them to cut soft foods like bananas or cucumbers.
If they have more training, they can also use a sharper knife. Just make sure your kids know always to cut away from the body. Just be sure to keep an eye on them. Many doctor’s offices are full of adults needing stitches after cutting themselves with kitchen knives. I have the scars to prove it!
More Kitchen Safety Tips for Kids
Here are a few more kitchen safety reminders when it comes to cooking with kids.
- Don’t touch the burners! This is probably easier to do with the gas stoves where you can see the flames than the electric stovetops that might be very hot.
- Be careful with knives- It’s a great idea to start them early with dull knives so they can master the motor skill, but sharp knives are no joke!
- Know how to operate your fire extinguisher– Yes, accidents like a grease fire can happen. It’s not enough to have an extinguisher. Make sure you can use it if something crazy happens!
- Be careful when you lift the lids of your pots. Sometimes little splatters of grease or another hot liquid might spill out. Stand back, so you don’t get burned.
- Wash your hands before cooking– Especially during flu season or COVID-19; you don’t want to add unnecessary germs to the mix!
- Wipe up spills when they happen. So have your towel handy for these occasions.
- Oven mitts are our friends– so always use them when opening or taking things out of the oven.
Cooking With Kids Makes Them Proud
All safety hazards aside: Children love to help. So having a safe kitchen paves the way for future success. Doing household chores like preparing a meal together doesn’t just improve the relationship between parents and children. It also helps with their motor skills. Furthermore, children who help in the home from an early age learn that chores are a normal part of daily life. So cultivating their culinary skills will help them in the future.
Just make sure they know about potential dangers in the kitchen and keep an eye on them while they’re mastering new skills. A lot of it comes down to training and practice. Untrained children (and adults) are more likely to hurt themselves than trained ones who know the correct handling. So start working together, and enjoy cooking!