16 KITCHEN SAFETY TIPS
Help your family stay safe in the kitchen.
Kitchen slips, spills, and fires can be more hazardous than you think. Take fires: According to recent statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, cooking equipment-related fires caused 430 deaths, 5,400 injuries, and $1.4 billion in damage in just four years.Staying safe in the kitchen isn't hard, but it does involve a few pieces of necessary equipment and some smart safety practices, too. Here's what to do.
Kitchen safety equipment and essentials
- Fire extinguisher: Extinguishers come in two types - disposable and rechargeable. For the kitchen, keep one on hand that's classed ABC, which means it can help extinguish the three common types of household fires. In addition, fire extinguishers have an expiration date, so check yours periodically to make sure it's in good working order.
- Smoke alarms: Rotate the batteries twice yearly (when it's time to shift the clocks is a good reminder).
- Child locks: Keep chemicals in a closed and locked cabinet.
- Emergency numbers, such as poison control and nearby hospitals: Put them in a visible spot so your family, visitors, or babysitters can easily find the information.
Kitchen safety to-dos
- Supervise: That goes for children and anything you're cooking. Never leave the stove unattended, even for a second.
- Avoid loose clothing: Long, billowy sleeves can easily catch a flame from the stovetop.
- Respect cords and outlets: Plug-ins in the kitchen should be GFCI grounded, which means they help protect from electrical shock. In addition, loose cords should be gathered so children cannot reach them.
- Keep appliances in working order: If something is broken, replace it.
- Pay attention to pot and pan handles: Keep them turned in so children can't grab them. Better yet: Use the back burners on the stove.
- Stash knives away: Sharp knives should be kept safely stored out of reach of children.
- Manage your to-do list: Multitasking can quickly lead to overflowing pans and the risk of kitchen fire. Do one thing at a time.
- Clear traffic lanes: Keep the path between stove and other appliances clear of clutter. A fall can lead to injuries.
- Eliminate cross-contamination: Never re-use knives and cutting boards after preparing meat; wash any kitchen tools thoroughly, and use different utensils and surfaces for vegetables and fruits.
- Skip uncooked foods: Avoid temptation. Don't eat dough or batter to help avoid the risk of food poisoning.
- Know what to do about grease: If you have a grease fire, quickly cover the pan or add salt or baking soda - not water.
- Keep it clean: A clean kitchen is a safer kitchen. Wipe up spills as you go, and keep countertops as free of debris as possible.