So, your kids are ready to start cooking, but you're not exactly sure where to start.
Before any measuring, mixing, or stirring takes place, it's important to outline some basic kitchen safety rules for your kids. This is important, not only for helping kids avoid injuries, but also for establishing safe habits they can use throughout their lives.
That's why we put together this quick and easy list of kitchen safety rules that you should teach your kids.
Keep reading for the five safety rules your kids should follow.
1. Dress the part.
Safe cooking should start before kids even enter the kitchen.
The most important rule here is to avoid loose clothing and accessories that can get tangled with kitchen equipment and create safety hazards. Kids should know that it is best to cook in short sleeves and take off jewelry beforehand.
Kids should also wear an apron for extra protection against hot materials, splashes and spills. Just be sure their apron fits properly without any loose or dangling parts.
Additionally, if your child has long hair, advise them to tie it up and out of the way.
2. Boost kids up safely.
When you were little, your parents probably held you up or let you stand in a chair to access the countertop.
But using a chair or stepstool to boost up your child can be extremely hazardous.
These items have no enclosure to prevent kids from slipping or toppling over, leaving them vulnerable to potentially life-threatening injuries. These items are simply not made to safely support wiggly and excited kiddos.
Thankfully, times have changed and there are now much safer ways to boost kids up to the kitchen counter. Products like our True Tot Tower have made it much easier and safer for kids to participate in the kitchen.
3. Hygienic cooking is key.
You probably already know that kids should wash their hands before getting started in the kitchen. However, kids should also know about cross-contamination and the importance of washing hands after touching certain ingredients.
Your kids probably won’t be handling raw chicken on their first try, however, many kids’ recipes feature raw eggs which require special handling.
Explain to them how uncooked eggs contain dangerous germs and have them wash their hands immediately after cracking eggs or handling batters.
4. Handling Knives & Tools
Now it’s time to turn on your inner helicopter parent. Many parents hold off on letting children handle sharp knives and kitchen tools until they’re much older.
However, it’s possible to introduce them to younger kids if you do so gradually over time.
Start them off with a plastic butter knife and have them spread some butter or jam on bread. Once they have a good handle on this, let them try a butter knife to cut soft items like cheese or bananas.
This way, when they are old enough to handle sharper tools, they’ll already have experience with similar utensils. Don’t forget to show them the proper way to hand someone a knife, that is, with the blade facing down.
5. Hot Stoves & Ovens
On your kid’s first cooking lesson, it is a good idea to explain the many hazards surrounding heating elements in the kitchen. Be very explicit in explaining that breaking the rules can lead to painful burns, dangerous smoke and especially kitchen fires.
Make it clear that they should never use heating elements without an adult’s permission and supervision. You should also go over general fire safety tips that apply even outside the kitchen.
When using a stove or an oven, there are a few general practices kids should know:
- Always use an oven mitt or potholder when moving containers on or off heat.
- Stand back from the stovetop outside the range of splashes.
- If using a gas range, monitor the flame and keep it under control.
- Watch the temperature inside your pot or pan to keep ingredients from burning.
- Place hot pans on a heat resistant surface to avoid burning or cracking countertops.
- Ensure all heating elements are turned off the second cooking is done.
Your child should never be left alone near a hot stove or any other heating element. If things get out of hand around the stove, move the child to safety as quickly as possible.
In addition to verbalizing these kitchen safety rules, it’s up to you to role model good habits in the kitchen. Doing so will help make your child’s cooking lesson as safe and enjoyable as possible.