Kitchen Safety is important, whether you have children, are an aging adult or simply spend a lot of time at home in your kitchen, it’s important to use safe practices. Between fire and electrical hazards, the prominence of sharp objects and food contamination, kitchens certainly aren’t the safest rooms. Here are some helpful and important tips for protecting yourself and your family:
Kitchen Safety and Proper Food Storage
Among all the dangers in your kitchen lurks the hazard of food contamination. Spoiled produce, sour milk and rancid meals can cause illness (and it’s a complete waste of money!). Prevent foodborn illness with these tricks:
Keep it Cold: All perishable food should stay below 40 degrees Fahrenheit so bacteria can’t form. Keep your food in the fridge until you must prepare it, and don’t let frozen items thaw on the counter. Put them in cold water or microwave it instead.
First in, First Out: Eat the oldest food in your fridge first, including leftovers.
Throw Out Spoiled Food: A bad apple really can spoil the bunch, so get rid of it right away!
Keep the Kitchen Clean (and Safe)
Food-born illness can also come from an unclean kitchen. Kitchen safety tip: Wash your countertops and stove after you cook and always wash your hands prior preparing a meal. Use warm soapy water to clean your hands, and be sure to scrub your forearms as well.
Don’t Mix Raw and Cooked Food
Raw meat contains bacteria that can cause illness, so don’t let it contaminate ready-to-eat food. Keep your raw ingredients away from the cooked ones to protect yourself from foodborn hazards and maintain a safe kitchen.
Install Smoke Detectors in the Kitchen
Every floor of your house should have a smoke detector. These gadgets warn you when something is burning so you can act quickly to get your family out safely. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, cooking accidents account for 90 percent of all home fires. Hang a smoke detector near your kitchen to monitor your cooking and improve kitchen safety.
Don’t Leave Things Unattended
Never leave flames, pets or your children unattended in the kitchen. The fire on your stovetop can get out of hand in a split second, but if you’re in the kitchen you can maintain safety and control. As a measure of fire protection, turn off the burner if you must leave the room, or have someone else watch the stove. Be sure the oven is off when you exit your house as well.
Pets and kids can knock into things in your kitchen, and children tend to grab items that are hazardous. Keep a close eye on both your kids and pets when they are in the kitchen. You should also childproof the kitchen so that a wayward toddler can’t get into cleaning supplies or accidentally turn on the stove. Post the poison control center hotline telephone number (1-800-222-1222) in a convenient location (such as your fridge door) so you can access it if your child consumes a chemical product.
Don’t Mix Hot Oil and Water
Cooking with hot oil such as olive oil or canola oil, require a little extra attention. For example, you should never put water in hot oil. The water will pop and splatter, which can cause burns. Put your food in the the oil and only add liquid to deglaze the pan later on in the cooking process (when the oil has been absorbed by food). And remember to gently place foods like chicken away from you so the hot oil does not splash and burn your hand.
Turn Handles Inward
Don’t let pot and pan handles hang out over the ledge of the stove. Your kids might try to pull the handle or you could bump into it, knocking the hot contents all over the floor. If you do accidentally knock a pan over, move out of the way rather than attempting to catch it. Your immediate reaction might be to reach for the pot, but fight the urge.
Store Knives in a Safe Spot
Keep your knives away from the edge of the counter, as your kids might be able to reach them or you could knock into them. Either push the knife holder against the wall, store them in a drawer, or hang them on a wall-mounted magnet strip.
Keep Your Kitchen Knives Sharpened
A dull knife is a dangerous one – ever try to cut a tomato with a dull knife? It can slide right off the food and into your fingers if the edge isn’t sharp. However, well-maintained cutlery will glide right through the food, keeping your fingers safe. Most knife sets come with a sharpening stick, though you can purchase stones separately. You can have a safe and happy experience if you take these simple tips for kitchen safety.