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Making Your Kitchen Kid-Safe

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Families spend a lot of time in the kitchen doing tasks such as putting groceries away, preparing meals, cooking and cleaning up. Oftentimes, very young children are present in the kitchen while a parent or adult does kitchen tasks. With hot ovens, sharp knives, toxic cleaning supplies stored in an accessible cabinet, lower shelves with cans that can tumble out if pulled and other hazards, the kitchen can be a dangerous place for little ones. It helps to have one low kitchen cabinet full of age-appropriate toys and activities so kids are less likely to mess with other items. Worry less by using these tips to make your kitchen safe for kids.

Lock It Up

Kitchen cabinets, pantry doors and doors leading to the outside or garage should be locked up when little ones are around. Put knives in a high drawer and keep it locked. There are many types of cabinet locks, depending on the cabinet type. The most common are probably the sliding locks for side-by-side cabinet doors with knobs together. Just slide on the handles and squeeze to remove. Door top locks are installed on top of the door and work well for interior doors. Available in different sizes to fit even oversized doors.

Prevent Burns

Children are naturally curious about stovetops and ovens. Avoid having hot pots pulled from the stovetop or burners/oven being turned on by small hands. Install knob stops that fit behind the knob and prevent them from being turned when not in use. A stove guard is a metal piece that fits around the front of the stovetop and stands a few inches high to make pots harder to reach and prevents the pot from being pulled off the stove.

Avoid The Deep Freeze

Little ones love to pull on doors and refrigerator/freezer doors are no exception. Fridge guards can be purchased to keep these appliance doors closed. Easily attached, just move the arm to the side to open the door and pull out needed food items. If you have a side-by-side refrigerator, place a guard on both the refrigerator and freezer doors. The door will latch by itself when closed, to keep little ones from hiding inside or having their fingers caught.

Stop Dangling

Keep electric sockets plugged with inexpensive plastic devices that young ones can't pull out. Kitchen appliance cords should never hang off the counter, as lighter appliances could toppled down when pulled and land on a child. There are stops that attached to counters to keep microwaves and other counter appliances from moving if the chord get pulled. Better yet, keep chords out of reach and place appliances in cabinets (low cabinets should be locked) when not in use.

Block Access

Use a child-proof gate to keep young kids out of certain areas, such as stairways. Older homes often have kitchen stairways going down to basements where kids could take a bad tumble. Purchase gates with solid construction with a door that swings in both directions for use when kids aren't around. Look for adjustable widths and no-hardware installation, so the gate can be moved or taken with you when visiting relatives.

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