The dangers include electrical and grease fires, scalding, food safety and preparation, cleanliness, electrical safety, handling small appliances and sharp objects, child proofing and … well, you get the idea. Although they may seem obvious, it never hurts to review a few safety tips that will make your kitchen a safer, happier place.
• Dress for the occasion: Whether or not you spend much time cooking, a good piece of advice is to wear closed-toe shoes. Professional chefs wear them because they protect your feet from a falling knife or boiling liquid, and provide good support when you’re standing for a long time. Make sure apron strings are tied, sleeves are secured and hair is pulled out of the way.
• Curtail cross-contamination: The most important defense is to wash your hands with soap, often. The next is having two cutting boards, one for raw proteins and another for other foods. Research has shown that in addition to cutting boards, the refrigerator door handle, sink and microwave/oven door are bacteria magnets. Be sure to clean these areas as often as you clean your counters.
• Know how to handle kitchen fires: The safest and most effective way to extinguish a grease fire is to smother it. Use a non-glass lid on a flaming pot or pan to suffocate. Salt also works to extinguish a flame— you should keep a container-full near the stove for this reason. Don’t use sugar or flour. Keep a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen, but not near the stove or the heater.
• Clean up spills promptly: Don’t wait until you’re done cooking. Frequent cleaning not only helps save time when cleaning the kitchen, but also helps prevent accidents. Water, food and grease on the floor will almost guarantee a fall. Watch out for cooking sprays, too. If they’re sprayed on the floor, the surface will become very slippery. Hold the pan over the sink so any overspray won’t land on the floor.
• Don’t forget the hot pads: Keep a good selection of hot pads and oven mitts on hand, but not hanging near the stove. Use for the oven and stovetop and also when pulling things from the microwave, as bowls in the microwave can get very hot. If a hot pad or oven mitt gets wet, don’t use it — a wet pad or cloth easily transmits heat.
• Maximize electrical safety: Make sure appliance wires and cords aren’t frayed and that the plugs have three-pronged, grounded connections.
Want a constant reminder on how to stay safe in the kitchen? Print and Pin this article on your refrigerator!