Childproofing Your Kitchen
Babies and toddlers are naturally curious, it helps them learn about the world and the many amazing wonders around them. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead and take childproofing steps to protect your little one(s) from hazards in your home. I have a nine-month-old and he’s starting to get into everything. So please join me as we take this educational journey and learn how to childproof the kitchen’s in our FishHawk Ranch homes together.
Your kitchen may potentially be the most dangerous room in the house. As your baby grows and gains mobility you will need to work harder to keep your kitchen safe. Supervising your baby will always be the best way to keep them safe in the kitchen. However, we know that you can’t 100% supervise your baby all the time. If you are cooking dinner or doing something else in the kitchen that takes away from your ability to supervise your baby try to find a safe spot for the baby. One idea is to put the baby in a play yard nearby. They will still be a part of the action but at a safe distance from any possible hazards.
Let’s take a look at a few other ways to help childproof your kitchen.
Remove Possible Issues
A great way to avoid a problem is to remove the potential problem. If it’s not in your house, you don’t have to worry about it! So get rid of potentially dangerous items you don’t use or that could be a hazard.
- Throw out chemical cleaning products. Instead, try to use natural household cleaners. They are much safer for your baby and your family.
- Small magnets can be choking hazards. If you want to post photos on the refrigerator a better choice is to use magnetized vinyl pads.
- Kitchen blinds with hanging cords could pose a strangling danger. Wind up or move the cords out of the reach of the baby.
- Do you have a dog? Dry dog food pellets could be a choking hazard for your baby. Once the dog is done eating either throw the remaining food out or move the bowl up and out of the reach of the baby.
Move It Out Of Reach
- Move the cleaning products you still use to cabinets or shelves that are up and out of the child’s reach. A good storage place is a cabinet over the refrigerator.
- Ensure medicines, and alcoholic beverages are located in higher cabinets and drawers. Remember that child-resistant tops on medication are not childproof!
- Store knives and other sharp tools, such as food-processor blades, in locked drawers or high cabinets. Peelers, graters, and other sharp kitchen utensils should be treated just like knives.
- Keep salt and vanilla extracts out of reach. Salt is very hazardous to a baby and it is easy for a kid to pour out and eat. Vanilla and other extracts, such as almond and lemon, contain alcohol.
- Some of your favorite houseplants may be poisonous. Ensure your plants are placed securely on a high shelf or outside of the house.
Change Your Habits
For infants, some of the greatest dangers in the kitchen are having things spilled on them, dropped on them, or being tripped over, so changing some of your habits is a large part of childproofing.
- Never carry an infant and hot food or drink at the same time. Their skin is much more tender than ours. One second of skin contact with a hot drink can burn your precious baby. Tea and coffee are typically served around 160 to 180 degrees. If one of these spills on your baby a burn is almost inevitable.
- If you are carrying hot food ensure you know where the baby is so you don’t trip on the baby and spill the hot food on them.
- Put your baby in a safe place while you cook and serve. Car carriers work great for infants. For babies, you might need a stationary jumper, play yard, or a gated area.
- Do not microwave a baby bottle. Instead, heat up water and place the bottle into the warm water until it gets to the desired temperature. Always test the milk’s temperature by dripping a little on your skin before you begin feeding your baby. Remember that drinks heated in a microwave may be much hotter than their containers and the middle may be hotter than the rest of the drink.
- Place pots at the back of the stove, with the handles turned inward.
- Keep electrical cords for small appliances up on the counter so a coffee pot or toaster does not get pulled and fall on the baby.
- Replace tablecloths with placemats. Tablecloths are easy for babies to grab on to and pull. If they do, there is a chance they can pull the contents on the table on top of them.
Lock It, Block-It, Cover It
There are some great baby safety products that can help us make our kitchens safer for our babies. Many of these products focus on locking, blocking, and covering access to dangerous items and places.
Outlet covers: These keep the little one from sticking their curious fingers into the power sockets. The common stick in the plug types is simple to install. Adults can remove them (sometimes!) but kids cannot. They come in many different styles and colors.
Cabinet locks: Keeping babies away from dangerous items in the kitchen is very important. There are a large variety of cabinet locks to choose from. If you want something that’s visible and easy to operate, Kiscords Childproof Cabinet Locks get high ratings. If you prefer a hidden mechanism, consider Tot Lok magnetic cabinet locks. They come with a magnetic key that’s too big to be a choking hazard. Wave the key over the cabinet to unlock it. Installation requires drilling into the back of the cabinet doors, and you will also need a good place to store the magnetic key.
Stove, Refrigerator, and Microwave: Install and use safety latches on the doors to the stove, microwave, and refrigerator. Install knob covers on all stove knobs so your child can’t turn on the burners. You may be able to remove the knobs when not in use.
Safety gates: If your baby is like mine they are getting in everything and moving from room to room very quickly. Being able to keep them away from dangerous areas, rooms or stairs can sometimes be a challenge. Safety gates are a relatively simple solution to assist with this issue. Safety gates come in many different styles. The most common ones are pressure-held and wall-mounted gates. Look for gates that are certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. Good bets are the AutoLock Pressure Gate by Cardinal Gates for $92.00, and Evenflo’s Memory Fit gate for around $21.00 at Walmart and Target.
Additional Safety Tips
- Keep pantry doors closed so kids do not get their fingers caught in them.
- Strap kitchen bookshelves to the wall.
- Ensure that there are no loose items on shelves that can fall on a baby.
- Keep the poison control number for your area and emergency contact information in an easy-to-access place.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector if your stove burns gas or propane. Carbon monoxide is odorless and invisible, and it can kill or make children seriously ill in small doses that might not noticeably affect adults.
- Set your hot water heater to a temperature of 120 degrees or less.
- Strap the baby in the highchair and never leave the baby unattended.
- Put a lid on the garbage can.
- Keep recyclables out of the reach of your baby. If there are any dangerous items like broken glass or sharp metal can lids, throw them out immediately.
- Close your dishwasher when not in use. Dishwasher detergent can be hazardous if your child eats it, so don’t put any into the dishwasher until you are ready to run it.
Related Child Safety Articles and Information
- 7 Best Green Cleaners For Your Home by Parents.com
- New York Botanical Garden’s advice on poisonous houseplants
- Child Safety Products via One Step Ahead
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About the author
The above FishHawk Ranch real estate article “Childproofing Your Kitchen” was written by Jeff Gould.
Jeff is a top-selling, nationally recognized REALTOR® and local FishHawk Ranch real estate expert. You will find him selling homes in the Tampa Bay, Florida area, including FishHawk, Lithia, Riverview, Valrico, Apollo Beach, Brandon, and Tampa.
If you are looking to sell or buy a home in the Tampa Bay area, Jeff is your local and trusted real estate professional.
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© 2015, Jeff Gould. All rights reserved.