Preventing Accidental Injury.
KDHE Office of Communications
With the holiday cooking season up on us, Safe Kids Kansas reminds parents and caregivers to check the kitchen for preventable hazards and to supervise children at all times in the kitchen.
“It’s important to keep cabinets closed and locked, and to store hazardous substances out of reach, but that’s not enough,” says Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas coordinator. “The most important safety precaution in the kitchen is constant, close, attentive supervision.”
Whether a child is helping an adult cook or simply watching, he or she should always be actively supervised – which means that the child is in sight and in reach at all times.
“Burns — from spills, steam, hot surfaces and flame — can be especially devastating injuries,” says Stegelman. “Because young children have thinner skin than adults, they burn more severely and at lower temperatures.” Scald burns from hot liquid or steam are the most common type of burns among children ages 4 and under. A child will suffer a full-thickness burn (third-degree burn) after just three seconds of exposure to 140-degree water.
Safe Kids Kansas recommends these precautions against kitchen burns:
In addition to hot surfaces, hot liquids and sharp objects, the other major hazard in the kitchen is poison. Store potentially hazardous goods, such as cleaning products and alcohol, in locked cabinets out of reach. Also, install a carbon monoxide detector to alert everyone to get out of the house in the event of a buildup of the odorless toxic gas given off by fuel-burning appliances.
Children who can follow directions may be ready to help out in the kitchen with tasks that do not involve knives, appliances or heat. “You know your own children. Don’t give them knives or let them handle anything hot until they have shown the maturity and coordination to do it safely,” says Stegelman. “Some children mature faster than others, so it’s up to parents to use good judgment about each child’s capabilities.”
For more information about kitchen safety and burn prevention, visit www.usa.safekids.org/.
Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of 67 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Osage, Pottawatomie, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area and the Metro Kansas City Area. Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.