Cooking is fun, but cooking burns, the most common kitchen injury, are not. It’s estimated that this year, 70,000 Americans will get burned badly enough to require hospital admission. The kitchen is especially dangerous for children, who are both curious and less experienced in the kitchen.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to make your kitchen significantly safer for the whole family. Here are some tips to prevent you—or your child—from being one of the unlucky ones:
- Have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, easily accessible and away from the stove. You should also have a smoke detector, recently tested and in good repair.
- Turn pot handles towards the back, and don’t leave pans on the stove unattended.
- Be careful lifting lids, steam can be a scalding hazard.
- Never cook or carry hot food while holding your child.
- Don’t put hot foods on tablecloths or placemats children can pull onto themselves.
- Don’t use extension cords in the kitchen. they make electrical fires more likely.
- Be sure appliance cords are in good repair, and not frayed. The insulation shouldn’t be cut or patchy.
- Keep matches and lighters where children can’t get to them.
- Candles should be in flameproof containers and should not be left unattended.
- Put a child-safety latch not just on cabinets but on your oven as well.
- If you heat something in the microwave, test it before giving it to kids.
- Baby’s bottle should not go in the microwave. If you must microwave a bottle, do it very briefly and test the bottle, the nipple, and the formula before feeding.
Of course, sometimes burns do happen, despite all precautions. Minor burns can be put under cool running water, though you should not use ice. Serious burns need medical attention. Also call a doctor if you have swelling, pain, redness, oozing, or fever, which may mean infection.