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Children Cooking After School: Are They Safe?

Your kids arrive at home, toss their backpacks and book bags aside, head-off to the kitchen and start looking for something to eat. While a lot are content in just opening a bag of chips, some little chefs like to tinker with kitchen equipments. Most often, while you are still at work or out on an errand, they could be alone in your cooking area for an hour or two. How can you make sure that they are protected from the dangers in the kitchen?

To start off, it is important for kids to realize that they should always obtain permission to use the kitchen and never try to do things on their own. You are only letting them know of these safety measures to make them aware how to be out of danger, but it is always best to be accompanied by an adult when cooking.

Walk them around the kitchen as you give them the tips, so they will have a clearer picture of how it is done. It is best if the tips are presented not as pure theoretical information, but with ample practice and tests, allowing them to try things on their own while you are watching.

• When using the microwave oven in reheating or cooking, make sure to use only microwave-safe dishes or containers. There are many others that the children might think of using, such as carry-out containers from restaurants. Styrofoam or plastic containers warp or melt, while aluminum foil or metal containers can get too hot and burn. Point to them the only allowed containers for use.

• Carefully remove food from the microwave oven to prevent burns. Use potholders and make sure they uncover foods away from their face.

• Tie back long hair to avoid getting hair into their food, and to prevent it from catching fire. Make them wear comfortable kids’ aprons to protect their clothes.

• Never run in the kitchen, or play overly-energetic games.

• Hold knives by their handles only, careful not to cut themselves. Avoid carrying the knives from one place to another, to lessen the risk of getting hurt. And if they have to carry one, be sure to point the tip towards the floor.

• Should the children need to boil water, limit the amount of the liquid (a cup or two) so that it could well be placed in a small pan. Pans that are too big are more risky to handle. Indicate to them the smaller pans that they are only allowed to use.

• Always use dry pot holders in touching or moving hot pans or pots. Damp or wet ones transmit heat and can still burn their hands.

• Teach them how to position pans while cooking, pointing the pan handles to the outside perimeter of the stove to prevent them from tipping, spilling or catching another pan handle.

• Under no circumstances should they leave any cooking unattended. Use a timer and alarm clock, if necessary.

• Never leave potholders, kids’ aprons or towels on the stove top.

• Remind them to place hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges, to prevent it from tipping and spilling.

• In case of minor burns, treat it right away by putting the burned area in cool water. Do not use cold water or ice, as it may instigate more destruction to the injured skin. Or apply a clean, cold compress on the burned area for about 3 to 5 minutes.

• Do not apply powder, grease, butter or any other remedies to the burn, as these may raise the risk of infection. You can, however, apply cream or aloe gel to the affected area a few times during the day.