Kitchens are without a doubt one of most dangerous places in the home. A combination of hazardous equipment, liquids, fire, heat, disorganization, and commotion can create an environment where any number of different types of injuries is possible. In order to prevent injuries in the kitchen, you should think what could happen during and after you use it.
The following checklist features 24 tips that can help keep you, your family, and your pets safer in the kitchen.
Kitchen Safety Checklist: Being Proactive
1. If you have young children in the home, childproof the kitchen, especially the stovetop knobs, the doors of cabinets where you might be storing chemicals, and anywhere you store dangerous equipment like knives or food processors.
2. Place high-quality, slip-resistant mats that can soak up water in front of the kitchen sink, allowing you to stand comfortably while preventing a slipping hazard due to water that may have splashed onto the floor.
3. If you store cleaning products or other chemicals in the kitchen, keep them separate from foods and drinks. Make sure children cannot reach them. Further, store chemicals low, such as at the back of a cabinet as opposed to high up on a shelf.
4. Keep a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen, but not near the stove or other heating source.
5. No matter how hard you try to prevent injuries in the kitchen, they could happen anyway. For that reason, you should always have a first aid kit available, as well as the phone number to poison control.
6. To prevent injuries in the kitchen that might occur at mealtime or during meal prep, recycle or throw away any appliances or other kitchen supplies that are broken or damaged.
7. Keep a sturdy step stool in your home. If you know you need to use something that is usually stored high up on a shelf or in a rarely used cabinet, retrieve that item before you start cooking; you don’t want to risk falling over onto a hot stove or having items fall into the foods that you’re cooking. Don’t try to stand on a chair instead, as they’re usually not stable enough.
Kitchen Safety Checklist: How to Prevent Injuries in the Kitchen While You’re Cooking
8. If you have pets in the home, make sure you don’t drop small bones or other choking hazards onto the floor.
9. Teach young children to stay away from the stove at all times, including while you are using it. A child who tugs on the bottom of your shirt to get your attention could easily distract you, causing you to cut yourself. The child could also get splashed with grease or other hot liquid.
10. Clean up spills immediately and pick up any garbage you may have dropped right away to prevent slipping.
11. Keep a cellphone with you in the kitchen in case of emergencies.
12. Never place anything on the stovetop other than pots, pans, and other cookware. That goes for towels, plates, cooking utensils, and, of course, your hands. That last one may seem obvious, but there are many incidences where people have absentmindedly or accidentally touched a burner that is still hot. Additionally, set utensils that you are using during the cooking process on a utensil holder on the countertop rather than on the stove or in the pot.
13. When deep-frying or otherwise using grease for cooking, use proper methods to avoid splashing, and stay as far away as possible.
14. Don’t use water or a fire extinguisher on a grease fire. Keep a lid nearby instead to extinguish a small grease fire.
15. Wear short or tight-fitting sleeves to make sure they don’t catch fire.
16. As you’re cooking, make sure the handles of the pans do not hang out past the stovetop. If they do, someone or something could knock the pan over. The handles also should not be angled toward another burner or the center of the stove. Ideally, the handles would hang over the countertop, where there is a lower chance of the handles catching fire or someone bumping into them.
17. Before turning on the garbage disposal, make sure you haven’t dropped a spoon or other large item into it. Never reach into the garbage disposal while it’s operating.
18. Learn the proper ways to peel, cut, slice, and dice vegetables and meats in order to avoid cutting your fingers. One way, for example, is to curl your fingertips over so that your knuckles protect the tips of your fingers.
19. If you are in the process of frying, broiling, grilling, or boiling food, do not leave the kitchen.
Kitchen Safety Checklist: Cleaning It All Up
20. Make sure every appliance, the burners, and the oven are turned off when you’re done.
21. After washing your knives, secure them with knife covers before putting them back into a drawer. If you use a butcher block instead, make sure it’s far back away from the edge of the counter.
22. Pick up any garbage on the floor and wipe up any spills that you may have missed.
23. Put away dangerous appliances like blenders, and watch your own hands and fingers while doing so. In addition to preventing cuts, putting these items away will also help reduce electrical hazards, keep your pets from playing with the cords, and lower the possibility of fires.
24. An especially curious dog or cat will stretch up to see what’s on the kitchen countertop or jump onto the countertop. Make sure you haven’t left knives or dangerous foods out for them to knock down or try to eat.