Mom's Pick 2018:
How to Baby Proof your Kitchen
Photo credit: P. Gage Burke @Flickr
When it comes to baby kitchen safety, I’m sure all mommies out there will agree with me that there are so many things to be aware of and learn on how to baby proof your kitchen. While it is time-consuming, I always take to heart that the time is well spent knowing that my sweet baby (and toddler) roams about the kitchen safely.
To make full use of all the research I’ve done, I’ve put together a list of things that you should be aware of to help you get started on baby proofing your kitchen. Start with one item at a time and you’ll be done in no time!
Also it is important to know that all kitchens are not the same, so you will have to take your own kitchen into context and make sure that you’ve covered all the essential items to baby proof.
Where & How to start
Consider the possible danger areas in the kitchen from the view of your child. Get on your hands and knees if you must and check where the dangerous areas and the potentially harmful kitchen tools are.
Typically they are:
- Storage Places like drawers, cupboards, store room
- Sharp tools like knives, peelers, wine openers, scissors etc.
- Electrical appliances like microwave, blender, food processor etc.
- Chemicals like detergents, laundry powder, rat poison etc.
- Non-human Food meant for your pet(s)
- Doors that open like those of oven, dishwasher, refrigerator etc
Anything Sharp & Dangerous
The most important rule: Keep knives out of reach (& sight) of children.
It is that simple! Never store knives on the counter top. For me, I store them in my drawer and baby proof all my drawers so that it is difficult for my child to open them.
If you are like me, you don't like a mess in your drawer especially with all the knives lying around, you can consider getting a knife organizer. I use one for all my knives and sharp kitchen tools just like the one in the picture below (on the left side where all the knives are). If you have a drawer that is big enough, you can get a similar cutlery organizer to place them side by side. The one thing that I really like about this Rev A Shelf 4WKB-1 Wood Knife Block Insert is that it can be trimmed to the exact size to fit you drawer with just a table saw. It looks very neat and professional this way!
Rev A Shelf 4WKB-1 Wood Knife Block Insert (Click here to see reviews & check the price)
When cooking, always be mindful to use and keep your knife away. Do not leave them lying on the chopping board especially without supervision. I know how often this can happen when we get all caught up in the joy of making that delicious meal but it is time to cut & keep for the safety of your baby!
Other Sharp Kitchen Tools
Besides knives, also make sure that other kitchen tools with sharp edges like your scissor, peelers, wine openers, bread knives, forks etc are put away in the drawers. Same rule as #1, never leave these sharp kitchen tools lying around on the counter top or anywhere in the kitchen.
Anything that Opens or Turn On
Cabinets & Drawers
Very soon your baby will learn how to open kitchen cabinets, cupboards and drawers. Afterall, they are that smart, right!?
Having child safety locks for kitchen cupboards, cabinets & drawers helps prevent your child from opening them when you are not looking. Remember you had store those sharp knives in those drawers? You definitely don’t want your baby to pull it open and start playing with them! There are many types of safety latches, locks and tools in the market that you can choose from depending on the type of cabinets & drawers you have.
Microwave Oven & Dish Washer
These 2 items are one of the most overlooked electronic appliances to baby proof. Just because they are big and seem almost harmless doesn’t mean that they do not attract the attention of your little one! Many child experts say that children are attracted to sound & light and this is exactly what your microwave oven & dish washer do! It makes sound & shine light when in operation. A multi-purpose latch is the best way to baby proof your microwave oven & dish washer. To prevent your child from reaching the microwave oven, you can also place it as far back on your counter top as possible so that you keep it out of reach for your little one.
When it comes to your stove oven, nobody likes it when you have to remove the knobs after using and putting them back the next time. It is a hassle and sometimes, you may lose one or two knobs unknowingly! Instead of removing the knobs, use stove knob covers to prevent your child from attempting to turn them on. They work by encasing the stove knob and preventing any access to the knob when it is covered. When you want to use it, you remove the cover and turn on the stove.
All other electrical appliances: Blenders, can openers, mixers
The rule of thumb for all other electrical appliances is to have them unplugged when not using. If you have storage space in your cupboards, put them away to minimize any chance of your child fiddling with it.
If you are using them, place these appliances as far back on the cooking bench to keep it out of reach for your child.
Anything that can Topple
According to the CDC, on a daily basis, over 300 children are treated in emergency rooms for burn-related injuries. In the kitchen, scalding is one of the most common injuries for children & adults alike. From the perspective of a young child, anything that he/she can pull over from the counter top, like a pan handle, is something that he/she would like to try. To avoid this type of disasters, make sure to turn pots & pans handle away from the front of the stove and away from these curious little hands.
Besides the stove area, anything else on the counter top or dining table that has the potential to be knocked over should be put as far away from your kiddo. Counter top rule #1 is to put everything as far in and near to the wall as possible. This way, your child cannot grab and topple it. The dining table is a bit more tricky. Depending on the size of your dining table, the best way is to ensure that it is as far away from the edge of the table as possible. You may also consider using baby plates & bowls that have a suction base to ensure that they stay upright.
For all electrical appliances in the house (not just in the kitchen), check to make sure all wires, cords and plugs are not frayed or have any part of the wire exposed.
Also, keep all electrical appliances that you don’t use or finished using in the cupboard. Do not leave them lying on the counter top as you will never know what the curious little fingers have in mind.
Extension cords or multi-plug adapters are also dangerous as they are exposed. You can get a child proof power strip cover to hide all the exposed sockets and cables.
Finally, dispose of any appliances that are damaged or spoilt. There is no point keeping then in the house and they may pose a risk if your little one finds it one day!
In addition to the above tips, also read about how to baby proof the electrical outlets in your home.
Cleaning supplies such as dish washing detergent, laundry detergent, pesticides, bleaches and other household cleaning chemicals should be stored in a safe place and locked with safety latches.
Some mommies I know decided to switch most of their cleaning chemicals from artificial chemicals to safer organic cleaning agents such as vinegar, borax, mineral oil or non-chlorine based bleach.
Any medication that you have including supplements and vitamins should also be safely put away in cupboards with safety latches.
Last Words on Baby Proofing your Kitchen
You are the master of your kitchen and you know your kitchen the best. If there is anything that you think is remotely dangerous for your baby then by all means go ahead and baby proof it. Sometimes this is a “learn-as-you-go” experience for some parents where you begin to baby proof items that didn’t seem dangerous to you in the first place but after watching your child touch/pull/pull it, you decide its best to baby proof it just in case.
We hope you like the article above and if you have any more tips to add on, we welcome your comments below.
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