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Childproofing the Kitchen

It’s only natural that since
moms and dads spend so much time in the kitchen, curious little tykes spend a
lot of time there, too. Unfortunately, though, curious little minds can lead to
some dangerous situations, which is why it’s so important to childproof your kitchen.

Not only because your child
may be testing his or her boundaries there, childproofing the kitchen is essential
also because there are so many dangers lurking in that one particular room.
Think about it: there are outlets like everywhere else, but there are also
knives and other sharp objects, pesticides, cleaners, and other hazardous
chemicals, extremely hot surfaces and objects at times, and lots of heavy items
that could injure someone if they fell (or were pulled) off the countertop. To
make matters worse, most kitchens are filled with chairs and step-stools, which
only serve to bring children that much closer to things you prefer they not
reach.

  • Cabinet latches or locks are a great idea, but often a truly curious or strong child can figure them out fairly quickly. In order to keep your child safe from whatever it is you’re keeping from them in those cabinets, move dangerous items to wall cabinets that children can’t reach, preferably on a top shelf.
  • Make sure that dangerous chemicals, cleansers, etc. are in their original containers with childproof caps.
  • Keep sharp knives, vegetable peelers, food processor blades, and other potentially dangerous utensils in locked drawers or in high cabinets. You should do this as well with your china and glassware to prevent children from breaking these and possibly getting injured from broken shards.
  • Keep small appliances that get hot away from countertop edges. Items like your toaster and coffee maker should be back against the wall with cords wrapped up and out of reach to prevent little hands from yanking on them and possibly pulling the appliance down on them.
  • Be aware of any choking hazards present in your kitchen and keep them out of reach. A bowl of fruit on the table that contains grapes can become a choking hazard, as can a jar of coins, a planter or display with marbles, pebbles, or other small objects.
  • Put away your well-meaning tablecloths and place mats as little ones may pull these toward them, bringing with them heavy, hot, or sharp objects from the table top.
  • Try to use the rear burners on your stove whenever possible so that the front burners are never hot when curious hands reach up and onto the surface.
  • Keep your trash compactor and dishwasher closed to prevent toddlers from getting into them or having fingers crushed in the doors and hold off on filling the detergent dish until you’re ready to run the dishwasher to prevent children from possibly eating it or playing in it and getting it in their eyes.

There are a lot of do’s and
don’ts here to keep your child out of danger in the kitchen, but try to keep in
mind that a healthy curiosity is actually a really good thing, so try to keep one cabinet free and
accessible for your child
. Fill it with things they are allowed to pull out
and play with, like plastic containers, pots and pans, wooden spoons, measuring
cups, etc. and show them that they, too, have a place in this most
well-occupied room.

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