If you could make one place a safe haven for your children, where would it be? For many parents, the answer is their homes and research shows more than 4.5 million children are injured in the home every year.
‘‘The greatest potential threat to the average American child is that child’s own family and home environment. -C. Everett Koop “ Former U.S. Surgeon General 2/23/89 New York Times
The kitchen is an area of the home that has an incredible amount of traffic and potential hazards that are not in other rooms. As a professional baby proofer I recommend the following for the kitchen area:
- Lock all of the cabinets below the counter top.
- Secure the stove, oven and burners to prevent burns.
- Secure the dishwasher as it usually has the utensil basket containing sharps on the bottom within easy access of toddlers and the coil gets hot enough to melt plastic as well as burn skin.
- Secure trash compactors, ice machines and wine refrigerators.
- Secure refrigerators to keep toddlers out of medicines and alcohol. Also, the glass bottles and jars are easily broken on the kitchen floor.
- Secure the pantry door as most parents want to prevent grazing and the potential injuries from climbing, broken jars and broken toes from dropped items.
- Install Ground Fault, GFI, outlets within 6 ™ of all sinks/water sources to prevent electrocution.
- Remove bar stools to prevent them from falling over when a toddler starts climbing. Kitchen bar stools seem to be a popular place to hang a purse and with a simple tug the stool will usually tip over.
- Avoid letting your children play with pots and pans. These are your tools and the kitchen is your workspace.
- All toys should be in another room to minimize trip hazards.
Following these recommendations will greatly reduce the unintentional injuries in your kitchen.
About the Author: Jack Smith is the CEO of InfantHouse.com, a baby proofing company serving the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area. He is the Daddy of boy/girl twins, affiliated with the International Association for Child Safety and contributing author of Chaos 2 Calm the moms-of-multiples ™ guide to an organized family .