The dangers in a kitchen are significant for anyone, but for an unsuspecting infant can lead to deadly consequences. Child proofing a kitchen begins with understanding each of the threats and what it can mean to a young child of any age.
Child Proofing the Refrigerator
The dangers in a refrigerator can go undetected due to the unlikelihood of any child old enough, therefore strong enough, to open the refrigerator knowing that they are not allowed to. However, the problem with accidents is that they are just that, accidents. No one expects their one year old to open the refrigerator and shatter a jar of pickles on the floor but it does happen. Aside from broken glass there is also the danger of young children eating something that they shouldn’t causing food poisoning, alcohol poisoning, and even chocking.
On-Off Child Lock – A system that comes in both white and black and is attached to the refrigerator with an easy stick-on adhesive. This is bragged to be ideal as you can lock it when you need it and disengage it when you don’t.
Appliance Lock – This is a generic system that can be installed on any surface that you would like locked up. One piece is installed on the base, then another on the door. When the two pieces come together they lock up. These systems can not usually be disengaged and must be dealt with every time the refrigerator is opened.
Child Proofing the Oven
For most parents the dangers of the oven are perhaps on the top of their list of worries when child proofing a kitchen. Most young children and infants take interest in the oven well before any other appliance in the kitchen, leaving it a top priority to protect them. Burns are the primary problem, and they can be deadly if severe.
Oven Lock System – There are many lock systems found on the market today. Whether you have a wall oven or a stove top range oven, your options are there. Some oven lock systems can be installed to the over while others are applied with simple peel and stick adhesive.
Oven w/ Built-In Lock System – Many kitchen appliances are now created with child proofing features including ovens. These can be slightly more expensive but well worth the cost when protecting young children from burns.
Child Proofing the Stove
Contrary to thought the most dangerous time for a child around a stove is when you are right there. Children often reach up to grab at the stove, and before you can catch their hand they have touched the hot burner, or even worse, pulled down a hot pan. This makes child proofing the stovetop a necessity no matter how much supervision you offer your infant or toddler.
Stove Guard – The stove guard is a plastic guard that is installed with a piece of long adhesive tape. The guard comes in a standard size but is adjustable to fit your stoves width. This product is made with a special plastic which is resistant to heat from the burners.
Knob Shields – A knob shield will provide a barrier between children and the stove knobs to prevent them from turning the burners on. These are particularly favorable for a gas stove where the dangers of fire and extreme burns are much higher. You simply slip a plastic shield over each knob and can rest easy knowing children can not tamper with it.
Child Proofing Outlets
Electrical outlets are dangerous to all children younger than five. In most cases, it is the confident three to four year old who attempts to plug in a toy that ends up at risk of electrical shock. Outlet covers and plugs have been a common child proofing product for close to twenty years. Today, you can find many different types to ensure that even a smart infant, toddler, or preschooler can not remove the plug and insert a toy or their fingers. Taking advantage of these wonderful products can save your infant or toddlers life.
Traditional Outlet Plug – Simple to use, you insert them into each outlet creating a shield between little fingers and danger of shock.
Outlet Covers – These are actually installed as a outlet plate and can not be tampered with by a child. When an adult goes to plug something in they must twist the prongs slightly to do it.
Child Proofing Cabinets and Drawers
Canned goods, dry goods, pots and pans, glass dishes, glass cups, silverware, cooking utensils, knives, and so much more is stored in most cabinets and drawers with the idea of moving everything to the top cabinets a less than likely option. Keep your cabinet and drawer space while keeping your infant safe by locking it up. This can prevent small children from getting into danger with glass products, chocking hazards, sharp objects, poisons, and even avoid smashed fingers with slamming cabinet and drawers.
Cable Lock – A single piece cable system that locks into place to keep cabinet doors closed. Can be installed on all cabinets with parallel handles which can be cable locked together. These are ideal for under the sink cabinets.
Cabinet and Drawer Latch – The cabinet and drawer latch system can be either permanently installed with screws of put on the cabinet or drawer with strong adhesive. This system can essentially be used for any cabinet or drawer in your home making ideal for even uncommon cabinetry.
Strap Locks – Similar to cable lock system, you must have two cabinet doors side by side to use this system. Simply snap a small loop over each handle and both doors are securely closed.
Additional Child Proofing Tips
- When using the stove top turn all pan handles towards the wall to prevent small children from grabbing the handle and pulling a hot pot of food on themselves.
- Make a rule that the oven is never open (even when quickly removing dinner) with the child in the room. Create an imaginary line that they must be behind before you remove anything from a hot oven.
- If possible, leave mopping and scrubbing with harsh chemicals for immediately after a child’s bedtime. This can prevent poisoning and accidents with the mop bucket of water.
Never leave a sink full of water. Children watch for all opportunities to play in water, especially when there are soap bubbles.
- Keep knives and sharp objects higher than of all children in the home. Many people store knives in their utensil drawer which could still be a threat to small children. Another common place of storage is a knife block on top of the counter, this is also very dangerous.
Often sinks are positioned right next to a window, and there isn’t a splashback area here either. If there is, it’s unlikely to accommodate more than a single row of tiles. In this instance you can add instant glamour and a unique charm by laying a row of handmade or hand painted ceramic tiles. Alternatively go in search of some old Victorian tiles; no-one will ever suspect you’re selecting a splashback for your kitchen sink!