When it comes to babies and children in the kitchen, you can never be too careful. There are lots of potential hazards – from knives and cooking utensils to cleaning materials, hot ovens and hobs as well as electricity sockets and slippery floors. For many parents, the thought of what could go wrong is enough to make them want to ban children from the kitchen completely!
Fortunately, with a bit of thought and effort, it is possible to make your kitchen a child safe zone. There are lots of appliances to choose which have in-built child safety features. And there are a myriad of helpful gadgets which will stop inquisitive little hands from venturing where they shouldn’t.
We recently wrote an article on baby-friendly kitchen appliances for new parents. In this article, we provide advice and guidance for parents of young children to help you keep your family safe.
There’s no getting away from it – everyone needs an oven so you need to think about how to keep your child safe when it’s turned on. If you’re choosing a new oven, you may like to consider one which has in-built locks or catches on the doors to prevent a child from being able to open the oven. Most Gorenje ovens are supplied with special locks which you can choose whether to fit and use. They’re very simple to operate – you simply slide a catch over with your thumb before the door will open. While it’s always advisable to keep your oven door shut after cooking, many Gorenje ovens also have a quick cooling mechanism.
Some ovens have child locks built into the operating system so they can’t be turned on by accident (or by a child). The Caple C2472 built-in single oven, for example, requires you to press and hold a particular button and twist another in order to turn it on.
One of the main problems with a hob is that the surface will get very hot during cooking, and will usually remain so for some time afterwards.
A good choice from a safety point of view is an induction hob. An induction hob will heat only the circular area where the pan is supposed to go, there shouldn’t be any residual heat beyond that area. Plus, it won’t activate unless a metal pan is on the hob zone – so if an object like a fork or ladle were to accidentally be placed on the hob, it wouldn’t heat up.
Some of the more expensive induction hobs include pause functions. So if a parent was interrupted while cooking, they could stop cooking, then return, press ‘play’ and all hob zones revert back to their previous level. Our range of de Deitrich induction hobs, for example, includes an anti-overflow, an anti-overheat and auto-turn off safety feature, plus child lock. When the child lock is operational, the control panel is disabled to prevent accidental operation.
Boiling water safety
You can avoid kettle spills by installing a boiling water tap. Boiling water taps have in-built safety mechanisms with most requiring a ‘push and twist’ action to release the boiling water. Quooker has a range of boiling water taps which require a double push, for extra peace of mind, while Abode boiling water taps come with a separate magnetic key fob which has to be placed against the stem of the tap to dispense hot water.
Another benefit of a boiling water tap is that the external surface of the tap does not get hot. Unlike a kettle, most boiling water taps are insulated so the heat remains inside.
General tips on keeping your child safe in the kitchen
- Be an eagle-eyed parent – it sounds obvious, but don’t leave a young child unattended in the kitchen. The nature of a kitchen means you can’t rule out all risks. Set rules about what your child can and cannot touch and be consistent in enforcing them.
- If you have a microwave on your worktop, make sure it’s pushed to the back so your child can’t press the buttons.
- Keep knives well out of reach or in a locked drawer or cupboard.
- Unplug all electrical items so your child cannot switch them on.
- Use the back rings on the cooker when possible. When you are using the front ones, turn saucepan handles towards the back.
- Invest in some locks to prevent your child from being able to open cupboards containing washing up liquid and other hazards.
- Get into good habits – for example, always close your oven door as soon as you have taken out your food. Close the dishwasher once you’ve loaded/unloaded it.
For additional tips and advice on kitchen safety, take a look at this article from Netmums. This article from Mumsnet is also very useful.
If you would like further information, please do get in touch with a member of our expert team. Safety is always front of mind when we’re talking to customers, so we can help guide you to the right products to suit your kitchen, family and lifestyle.