Safety and hygiene is the most important lesson to introduce in the kitchen. For adults and children alike, following these measures ensure safe practice that will soon become second-nature. Children are never too young to learn these rules and will be especially receptive when they see adults also practicing kitchen safety and hygiene.
Handwashing! Always wash your hands before starting cooking, and before and after handling raw meat, poultry, egg, and fish products because these foods can contain bacteria. Try to find some child sized gloves, too.
Cleaning spills and messes as you go will prevent slips and falls. Plus, you’ll have much less cleaning to do when you’re done.
Play the part! Have a child-sized apron for protection and wear shoes to not only protect feet from falling items and spills, but also to keep from sliding around while handling sharp and hot items.
Avoid baggy sleeves and loose hair, which can get caught in mixers, catch fire, or get in the food. Roll up those sleeves, tie long hair back and jump in!
It’s never too early to start teaching knife safety! Make sure they know to always point the blade away from themselves and to keep fingers away from the blade when cutting.
Start with vegetable cutters and small child-sized knives or nylon knives to teach proper handling before working up to real kitchen knives, with supervision.
Never put knives in a sink full of water or a messy drawer to avoid someone reaching in and getting hurt.
Cross-contamination is how bacteria can spread. It occurs when raw meats or germs from unclean objects touch clean objects and cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
Teach kids that when things look clean, they may not actually be clean.
It’s also a good idea to teach kids how to identify when meat or chicken is thoroughly cooked. Show them how to read a meat thermometer.
Hot Stuff Safety
Always turn pot handles in to avoid them being knocked over.
Keep paper towels, dish towels and pot holders away from the stove so they don't catch on fire.
Keep dry potholders or kitchen towels on hand to touch, hold, and carry hot pots and pans.
Remember to turn everything off when you’re done
Keep electrical appliances away from water to avoid shocks. Stay away from electrical sockets, especially with wet hands.
Use only microwave-safe cookware in the microwave — never tinfoil or anything metal.
Plastic should never go in the oven.
Make sure the blender lids are securely locked before blending. If blending hot mixtures, secure a towel over the lid to avoid accidental splashes and burns.
In case of burns, hold the burned area under cool running water for ten minutes.
Show your child where the bandages are and how to clean cuts.
Flames can be attractive to children, so it’s important to stress the importance of staying away from open flames.
Never put water in a pan that has hot oil in it, to prevent splatters and burns.
If the fire is small, it can be put out with baking soda or smothered with a lid - never with water.
Show children where fire extinguishers are kept and how to use them in case of emergency. If there are big flames, leave the home and call 911.