In many different regards, parenting is quite different from what it used to be. We live in age that demands more research, better products, and more entertaining toys for our children than was acceptable when we were being raised...and yet for all of the sophistication that modern toys can boast of, kids really just want to do what their parents are doing. Sure, giggling stuffed animals are fun to fiddle with for five minutes or so, but is there any comparison between that and real grown-up work? Give them wooden spoons over plastic rings—after all, “if you're using one, why can't I?” One of the prime adult work spaces that children want to co-occupy with their parents is the kitchen...and certainly, everyone has a favourite childhood story or memory set in this room. To keep those memories and stories happy ones, it's important to review safety hazards in the kitchen in order to protect your children from them. Here are the main hazards you should watch for:
Major appliances – Set rules around the distance your child is allowed to be from the oven and stove. When they are in the habit of respecting this distance, you are less likely to have an instance in which you forget to keep them away from it when it is hot from being in use. Also, when you yourself are cooking, use back burners before front burners in order to keep the maximum distance between little ones and your heat source. Dishwashers should be locked when you aren't loading them to prevent little hands from injury owing to sharp utensils and rolling dishwasher racks.
Small electrical appliances – Few things are as enticing to little hands as dangling power cords. Keep cords well out of reach (and out of sight too, if possible). If an appliance is not in use, and is not very large, keep it tucked away in a cupboard. For items that you do leave on the counter, be sure that they are pushed far enough back (corner counter space is ideal for this) so that they are not accessible to your child.
Cleaners – Kitchen cupboards—particularly those under the sink—are often a favourite place for storing cleaners like bleach and all purpose surface disinfectant sprays. However, this space tends to be easily accessed by young children, making it a poison hazard. Try to house toxic materials like these in a remote, infrequently accessed part of your home, locked away, well out of reach. If you must use kitchen storage for this purpose, be sure to use childproof locks on those cupboards. If the issue is simply a matter of wanting to have cleaners on hand in the kitchen, consider replacing your toxic stash with baking soda and vinegar. There are few messes that these old reliable (and non-toxic!) staples can't handle.
Sharp utensils – Most of us know that part of good knife maintenance involves storing knives in a knife block, to minimize the damage done to the blades as a result of hitting other utensils. However, with little ones around, sharp utensils, especially knives, should be in a locked away. If you have a cupboard that you can apply a childproof lock on that is large enough to accommodate your block, this would be ideal. Otherwise, carefully wrapping your knives before placing them in a locking drawer would do quite well also.