You’re a super mom and “multitasking” is your middle name but don’t let your do-it-all approach to life degrade your ability to keep your kitchen safe when kids are in your midst. Having the perfect pasta, from-scratch chocolate cake, and virgin cocktail all come together at the same time will mean nothing if one of your little ones get harmed in the process. Here are five common sense kitchen safety tips that we busy moms sometimes overlook while in the throes of getting a meal on the table.
1. Keep knives in the pointed down position
If you’re like me, you have nearly every bit of counter space occupied with some part of a meal production and you go from station to station, taking a knife here, placing another knife there. Do you ever pay attention to how you carry your cooking arsenal? If you happen to walk across the kitchen with a knife pointed out or up, you’re setting yourself up for trouble if your kids just happen to bring their game of high-speed tag into the kitchen. Keep your knives pointed down when you’re transporting them from space to space. Also, keep them away from the edge of the counter to prevent them from slipping off and impaling your foot or, God forbid, one of your children.
2. Don’t hang dish towels on the oven handle
Do you go through multiple dish towels while cooking because you have a thing about clean dish towels? Cleanliness in the kitchen is always a top priority, just make sure you don’t keep clean dish towels ultra handy by hanging them on the oven door handle, refrigerator handle, or drawer handle. Little kids love grabbing any and all things that happen to hang within their reach. This will put them at risk of pulling a hot oven door or heavy drawer down on their head. If they grab a towel wrapped around the refrigerator door, they can accidentally slam the door into their face. Put adhesive hooks on the wall or high up on your refrigerator or cabinets to safely hang dish towels.
3. Keep hot foods away from the edge of the counter
You’ve done a great job teaching your kids that the stove top is off-limits because it is a designated hot spot. But what about baking dishes on the counter. Sometimes they are hot right out of the oven; at other times they are cool as a cucumber. Avoid having one of your kids touch hot dishes by keeping them pushed all the way back on the counter up against the wall — out of the reach of curious little hands. In addition, if you set hot dishes on towels, don’t let the towels extend off the counter and keep them away from the counter edge to prevent your kiddos from pulling a hot dish off the counter and onto them. Long pot handles can be a danger for little tykes that want to pull up on things. Turn the handles of skillets, pots, and pans away from the edge of the stove to prevent your kiddos from being tempted to grab them.
4. Don’t hold your baby while prepping food
Sure, holding a crying baby while you stir the sauce or saute the veggies is time-efficient, but is putting your baby at risk of getting burned worth the time saved? Holding a baby over the stove top increases the risk of you accidentally dropping your tot onto the hot surface or in the food, catching her clothing on fire, and splashing her with scalding hot food. If you need to attend to a fussy babe, do it in the other room, taking food off the burners if necessary, while you quiet her. Burned food or a late dinner is better than a baby crying in pain.
5. Teach your kids kitchen safety
Regardless of how busy you are, take the time to educate your kids about kitchen safety. They may not fully understand everything but the sooner you start training them on kitchen safety, the sooner they will learn. An ounce of prevention is far better than a ton of hurt due to burns, cuts, and other kitchen catastrophes.