We have a shoebox-size kitchen, so I have rules when my kids help me cook. Once the stove is lit, they need to stay seated at the table. All the tales of dropped pots of boiling water, hair caught in hand mixers, and fingers severed by bread knives have made me cautious. It's moments like a burner flaring or a glass dropping when your heart jumps into your throat that you realize you can never be too careful. Here are some tips for keeping your lil chefs safe.
- If children are helping prep, sit at a table rather than chance a fall by having them stand on a chair or stool.
- Do not allow children to crawl on counters or stoves when you aren't cooking. This way they won't feel comfortable doing so when the areas pose hazards.
- Keep knives out of reach.
- Use the rear burners when possible.
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- Turn pot and pan handles in.
- Instruct tots to keep their fingers to themselves and not to hover when a parent is operating a hand mixer.
- Make sure the floor is spill free before you transport pots of pasta and other boiling items to the sink.
- Be mindful of lil ones shuffling behind when you open the oven door to remove piping hot casseroles.
- Use age-appropriate utensils for different tasks. If you have a toddler in charge of snipping basil, have him tear the leaves with his hands rather than using a knife. If a preschooler is doing the job, allow her to use child-safe scissors, etc.
- After washing the dishes with hot water, run the cold tap so your lil ones don't get burned if they decide to rinse their hands.
- Keep the dishwasher locked.