The kitchen is a mystery for most children. They think parents just surf their way through the room and come up with delicious meals without making much of an effort.
But as we all know, that’s far from reality.
The kitchen is actually one of the most dangerous places at home. And learning how to cook delicious meals is not possible unless they know how to be safe first. And that’s what we want to help you with today.
This will be mostly about the right kitchen habits. So, we’ll focus on showing the most critical practices to teach children when using the kitchen safely.
11 Kitchen Safety Tips for Kids – Guides on How to Teach Your Children About it
Kitchen safety for kids is very important. Want to know what habits we’re talking about? Then come in and read up!
1. Teach About Permission
Many parents think this is obvious, but really most kids don’t have any idea that using the kitchen requires permission from the elder members of the family. Before any kid uses the kitchen, all adults should be aware of.
It is common to find children trying to come up with new recipes, cooking surprise meals, or just rummaging across the kitchen without supervision. It is sort of sweet and probably something to be proud of – but it can also be dangerous.
So, before you let your kid use the kitchen by herself, make sure she knows how important it is to ask permission first. In fact, no child should be using cookware, utensils, or any appliance in kitchen without the supervision of an elder.
Once kids have it clear that they shouldn’t be using the kitchen without an adult around, then you can proceed by teaching the basics.
Teach the Basics
The basics are essential. Not you or any other adult would ever be able to prepare a simple sandwich without them. So, you need to teach your children about them too.
2. Wash Hands
First of all: teach your kids to wash their hands.
Cooking with hands clean is the only way to ensure food safety and prevent any type of contamination. Especially if we’re talking about little children who are often playing on the floor and with dirty toys, then this becomes super essential.
The best way to teach this would be to remind the little one about what they’ve touched or played with. Usually, you can paint a picture of the filth they have in their hands and how it can go directly into their mouths if they don’t wash their hands. That alone should do the job.
3. Don’t Contaminate
This is similar to the hand-washing aspect. But this time it is not only about the children but about the food itself.
Teach your children about germs and bacteria. About how they can easily contaminate something with their saliva, and how keeping the food safe will make it last longer.
Also, remember cross-contamination is a thing. So, it is crucial to prevent uncooked foods from contaminating cooked meals. This is especially true for meats.
But it is also true for everything else. Tell them to not use utensils or dishware with both uncooked and cooked foods at the same time. And sure enough, teach them to always store uncooked food they’re not using as soon as they don’t need it anymore.
That would be the best idea to prevent any cross-contamination.
Teach Kitchen Hygiene
Hygiene is ultra-important. While washing hands is the first step, there’s a lot more to know about kitchen hygiene and how it affects safety.
4. Hair & Clothing
Especially if you have a girl or a kid with long hair, you should teach them how to tie it back when in the kitchen. The same happens with any type of loose clothing, jewellery and other accessories. Being as natural as possible in the kitchen is essential to prevent contamination.
5. Cleaning While & After Cooking
Another hygiene recommendation to teach your children is about cleaning. Not only they should learn to clean everything once they’re done with the cooking or meal preparation, but they should also learn to clean while cooking.
It is not something you MUST teach kids, but it could make their experience while cooking way more fun and easier over time. Remember, it’s all about habits.
6. Don’t Ever Lick
Most kids like to lick every utensil after it’s used. From forks to spoons, dishes, fingers, glasses, and even the dangerous knives – they lick or touch everything.
But that’s something you must get clear at first: licking is not hygienic or safe.
Unless we’re talking about cake frosting or chocolate dough, you must always keep your children from licking anything in your kitchen.
Not only they could put dangerous things in their mouths, but they could also end up getting sick with bacteria from uncooked food.
So, keep them from licking stuff. That will save them a lot of danger.
7. Teach About Utensils
Some kitchen items can cause harm if handled carelessly. We all know how dangerous a knife can be. That’s why it is essential to teach children how to use them correctly.
At first, toddlers and little children shouldn’t be using anything that’s not plastic. That will keep most of the risk away.
But you should always teach that knives don’t go on the mouth. This will be essential later on. Even licking knives should be totally prohibited.
Apart from that, teach them about sharpness. Some children may not understand the danger at first. So, try to paint an image in their heads about how dangerous the sharp side of a knife can be.
Then, teach them how to use a knife correctly, how to wash it safely, and how to store it, handle it, and pass it to other people the right way.
Don’t forget about forks and spoons, though. They’re way easier to use, but you should still consider teaching proper use.
8. Teach About Handling Cookware
Not many people consider this important, but it actually is. Cookware plays a significant role in the kitchen so learning how to handle it right will be essential for children’s safety.
The first thing to teach is how to carry cookware. They should know that whether it is a pot, pan, or any similar appliance, they should always use both of their hands.
Also, teach them how to use towels, mittens, and hand pads to handle hot cookware. Especially if the cookware has food inside, they should know how to handle & move around without putting themselves in danger.
And finally, teach them how to place cookware on stovetops. From not placing handles where people pass through, always making sure the pan or pot sits evenly on the surface – all of that helps to prevent accidents in the long run.
Teach About Accident Prevention
Accidents are always possible when using the kitchen. Your kids should know that at all times.
9. Using Appliances
A stovetop, a regular stove, an electric stove, a microwave, a blender, a freezer, a toaster, a food processor, and even a dishwasher– all of these appliances can be dangerous if not used correctly.
Before you let any kid use the kitchen by themselves, make sure they know how to use all the appliances. Or at least, they should be well-versed with how stoves, microwaves, and freezers work.
Also, you should teach them after-cooking safety. This refers to turning all the appliances off, and keeping them unplugged and disassembled.
10. Fires & Water Leaks
Accidents happen. And learning to prevent them is essential for safety. But sometimes, once the disaster is already on the door – no one apart from an adult will be able to control it.
If your kid ever faced an accident like a stovetop firing up, a water leak, or something similar – they should ALWAYS call an adult.
The best way to ensure that a child doesn’t harm herself is to let her know that they can’t fix most of these issues. And sometimes, trying to turn fire off or repairing a water leak, they may end up worsening the problem.
If there’s no adult around, then they should immediately call 911 or a neighbor if possible. That should keep them safer in case an accident happens.
11. First Aid
While it is always better to avoid accidents or just learn how to act once something happens, it is also vital to teach first-aid.
Not only you should make sure there’s a first-aid kit in the kitchen, you should also teach the basics about cuts, burns, and medications. If the kid is big enough, you could even teach them about sutures and the like.
This will make it easier to manage any harm and will keep children safe in case they get hurt.
You’re teaching your children how to be safe in the kitchen because you want them to use it without putting themselves in danger.
So, don’t hinder their development by keeping them out of the kitchen.
Instead, let them soar, experiment, and come up with their own kitchen messes. But always make sure they’re safe. They will appreciate it in the long term.
So, start teaching your kids kitchen safety now! You won’t regret it!