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Child-Proofing the Kitchen

Read tips on how you can make your kitchen safer for your children.

Child-Proofing the Kitchen

The kitchen area is full of knives, scissors, small appliances, breakables such as dishes and glasses, hot things such as ovens and toasters, and several intriguing little cupboard doors to tantalize a curious tot.

Just where do you begin? For starters, put child-resistant latches on the cabinets where you store breakables, sharp utensils, and cleaning supplies, and use high cabinet shelves instead of under-the-sink storage. We also recommend plastic safety covers on stove knobs so a child can't turn them.

Gadget Guide

The kitchen is a good place to keep a fire extinguisher. It can stop a small fire from becoming a big one.

It's best to keep very young children from playing in the kitchen while you cook. If there isn't a safe play area nearby, put your little one in a playpen in the kitchen. When cooking, turn the handles of pots to the back of the stove and use the rear burners instead of those in the front whenever possible. Put appliances with cords to the back of the counter and don't leave knives or hot beverages near the edge. Get rid of tablecloths and placemats that your baby could pull on and cause food or hot beverages to fall on her.

Some parents mount their microwave ovens above the counters to save space and keep them out of reach of children. That's best for young children, but when your child is old enough to use it, you should move it to a lower spot so the child won't be lifting hot foods above his head. (For information on kids using microwave ovens, see Safety Rules for Children Who Stay Home Alone.)

When you load the dishwasher, put sharp utensils in with the handles up, and never leave the dishwasher standing open. We know of a child who tripped on an open dishwasher door, fell on the silverware basket and was poked in the nose with a fork, causing an injury serious enough to warrant emergency room treatment.

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