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Safety & Prevention

The kitchen is such a dangerous room for young children that some experts recommend they be excluded from it. That’s a difficult rule to enforce, because parents spend so much time there and most young children want to be where the action is. While he’s with you in the kitchen, sit him in a high chair or playpen so he can watch you and others in the room. He should be securely strapped in and within your vision. Keep a toy box or drawer with safe play items in the kitchen to amuse him.

You can eliminate the most serious dangers by taking the following precautions.

  • Store strong cleaners, lye, furniture polish, dishwasher soap, and other dangerous products in a high cabinet, locked and out of sight. If you must store some items under the sink, buy a child safety lock that refastens automatically every time you close the cupboard. (Most hardware and department stores have them.) Never transfer dangerous substances into containers that look as if they might hold food as this may tempt a child to taste it.
  • Keep knives, forks, scissors, and other sharp instruments separate from “safe” kitchen utensils, and in a latched drawer. Store sharp cutting appliances such as food processors out of reach and/or in a locked cupboard.
  • Unplug appliances when they are not in use so your child cannot turn them on. Don’t allow electrical cords to dangle where your child can reach and tug on them, possibly pulling a heavy appliance down on himself.
  • Always turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so your child can’t reach up and grab them. Whenever you have to walk with hot liquid—a cup of coffee, a pot of soup—be sure you know where your child is so you don’t trip over him.
  • When shopping for an oven, choose one that is well insulated to protect your child from the heat if he touches the oven door. Also, never leave the oven door open.
  • If you have a gas stove, turn the dials firmly to the off position, and if they’re easy to remove, do so when you aren’t cooking so that your child can’t turn the stove on. If they cannot be removed easily, use child-resistant knob covers and block the access to the stove as much as possible.
  • Keep matches out of reach and out of sight.
  • Don’t warm baby bottles in a microwave oven. The liquid heats unevenly, so there may be pockets of milk hot enough to scald your baby’s mouth when he drinks. Also, some overheated baby bottles have exploded when they were removed from the microwave.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. (If your home has more than one story, mount an extinguisher in a place you will remember on each floor.)
  • Do not use small refrigerator magnets that your baby could choke on or swallow.
  • Poison control centers have reported an increase in poisonings caused by concentrated, single-use laundry detergent packets. Even just a small amount of the concentrated gel or powder can cause very serious respiratory or gastrointestinal problems or eye irritation. Keep these laundry packets high out of reach of children and do not permit young children to handle them. If your child does put one of these packets in his mouth or gets any in his eye, call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.

 

Last Updated
8/7/2013
Source
Adapted from Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age Five (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

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