Toddler-proofing your kitchen
Many families spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and there's a reason it's known as "the heart of the home." When you're in and out of the kitchen all day preparing food, getting bottles ready, doing dishes, and prepping meals, your toddler will want to follow you. Curious toddlers can find the kitchen to be a fascinating place, and they love to look in drawers and pull things out of cupboards. Besides putting child-proof latches on your cupboards and drawers, here are some important ways you can ensure your kitchen is safe for your little one:
When cooking, make sure that you turn the pot handles away from the front of the stove, and use the back elements where possible. This will prevent your child from pulling the hot pots down on top themselves.
Never hold a child while cooking at the stove. Put them in a play yard while you are cooking, or distract them with toys or snacks in their high chair.
Install a stove guard and knob covers, and secure the oven door with an appliance latch. You may be able to easily remove the stove knobs when it is not in use. Keep the stove and oven switched off at the wall when not in use.
Keep detergents, dishwashing detergent, cleaning products and any other toxic household chemicals locked up, preferably in a high cabinet that your child cannot reach even if they climb onto the kitchen bench or get a stool to help them reach.
- Buy products with child-resistant caps and keep products in their original containers. Never transfer a hazardous product to an unlabelled or generic container, as you could mix the products up and if your child is poisoned, you will not know what they have swallowed.
- Store sharp and dangerous kitchen implements -- knives, food processor blades, kitchen scissors -- in latched drawers or high cabinets that your child can't reach. Glasses, china, and tea sets should also be stored where your child cannot reach them.
- Move the toaster, tea kettle, coffee maker, and all other appliances out of your child's reach. When they are not in use, unplug them and hide the cords. If possible, buy appliances with retractable cords and keep them stored.
- Keep your dishwasher closed and locked when it is not in use. DIshwasher detergent can be toxic if it is eaten, and many children like to play in the dishwasher and can inadvertently poison themselves by eating dishwasher detergent. Don't ever put dishwasher detergent into the appliance until you are ready to run it.
- Put a lid on your rubbish bin, and keep recyclable items, such as bottles, tins with sharp edges, tin lids, etc, out of your child's reach.
- Set aside a cabinet or drawer where your child can safely play. Kids love to explore the kitchen, so a cupboard with plastic ware or a drawer with wooden spoons and orphaned plastic lids and containers can be great fun.