Farm Weekly

How to childproof your kitchen in 5 easy steps

 Of all the rooms in your house, the kitchen is inherently the most dangerous. Picture Shutterstock
Of all the rooms in your house, the kitchen is inherently the most dangerous. Picture Shutterstock

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The world is a dangerous place, especially for babies and small children. If you've got little ones crawling or-worse-running around the house, you'll want to ensure you've done everything in your power to make their environment safe and free of hazards.

Child-proofing your entire home, including the garage and yard, is a big job. As a subject it could fill a book. Today we're narrowing the topic and focusing our attention on the kitchen. Of all the rooms in your house (assuming you don't have a laboratory or something), the kitchen is inherently the most dangerous.

Understandably, many parents attempt to close off the kitchen entirely. But that's not always practical, especially when you have multiple people-including other children-going into and out of the kitchen all day long. In many households, the kitchen acts as a hub of human activity. Besides, even if you put up gates to restrict access, there is always the possibility that a rugrat will somehow breach the barrier.

So it's necessary, in any case, to childproof your kitchen. Not sure where to begin? No biggie-we're here to help. In this post we share five easy steps you can take to eliminate the risks posed by your kitchen to your pride and joy. Some require a modest purchase, which can be done online and shipped using a cheap courier service. Others simply require vigilance on your part. Let's begin.

Use back burners when you can

The stove is the kitchen's primary hazard. We don't need to go into detail about the various things that can go wrong when a tot has access to the stove. Suffice it to say that you must be extremely vigilant whenever this major appliance is in use.

Ideally, you will be able to keep your little one(s) out of the kitchen completely while you're cooking. But again, you have to be prepared for any contingency. One thing you can do: use back burners whenever possible. Toddlers can't knock down a pot or pan they can't see (let alone reach). Don't use front burners unless you have to; if you have to use them, make sure the handles are pointed safely toward the back of the stove.

Buy an oven lock

As toddlers grow and become more curious, they develop a tendency to touch, grab and pull anything on which they can get their hands. The oven door, sitting low to the ground, is exactly the kind of thing your tot would go for. It's also one of the last things you want him or her to touch.

Fortunately, there's an easy solution to this particular hazard. It's called an oven lock. As the name suggests, an oven lock fits on to the door of your oven and prevents it from being opened. You can purchase one online for around $10. Remember to compare courier quotes to make sure you're getting the best deal on shipping.

Remove knobs from stove

Assuming your stove is gas powered, accidental turning of the knobs is a major concern. As with the door handle on your oven, very small children are naturally drawn to the knobs on your stove. This could result in burns (if your toddler manages to ignite the flame), but it's more likely to release a bunch of gas into the house, which poses a massive risk to your entire family.

Avoid this by simply removing the knobs when you're not cooking and keeping them in a drawer. Most knobs can be removed and reinstalled with ease. If for whatever reason you are unable to do so, you can purchase knob covers which, when properly installed, make it so the knobs can't be turned.

If you have an electrical cooker, buy a stove guard to cover the hot surface when you're finished cooking.

Stow small appliances when not in use

We've covered the oven and the stove, but small appliances likewise present a risk to your small children. By small appliances I mean toasters, food processors, and the like. When you're not using them, they should be unplugged place kept in a safe spot outside the reach of little ones. The main reason for this is the power cords. In addition to presenting a strangulation hazard, they might be grabbed and tugged by a tot, resulting in the appliance crashing to the floor. On that note, never position appliances near the edge of the countertop.

Be careful with the dishwasher

Think about the things you put in your dishwasher: glasses, knives, forks, plates and bowls that are easily broken. Detergent, too. All of which you want to keep out of the hands of your small children.

Strongly consider buying a safety latch, locking strap or magnetic lock so that your child can't open the dishwasher door. These little gadgets are widely available, inexpensive (usually less than $10) and very effective. You'll sleep easier knowing that your little ones do not have access to the contents of your dishwasher.

Furthermore, when loading the dishwasher, remember to always put knives and other sharp implements in head first so that only the handles are exposed. Remove them-and everything else-from the dishwasher as soon as possible. Keep all utensils and dishes out of sight and out of reach of children.

Other considerations

There's more you can do to childproof your kitchen. Namely:

  • Use electrical outlet covers (everywhere, not just the kitchen)
  • Don't leave plastic bags lying around
  • Put safety locks on your fridge and trash bin
  • Stow tablecloths when not in use
  • Remove all choking hazards including fridge magnets
  • Keep cleaning sprays, bleach and other chemicals in a secure place