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Kids In The Kitchen

Every great chef and home cook has to start somewhere! Having your child or children participate in kitchen activities and duties can be wonderful fun and an awesome learning experience for them.

Safety First

When thinking about having your children participate in kitchen activities, you want to make sure that your kitchen is a safe place. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a global non-profit organization working to prevent childhood injury, 3.5 million children annually are sent to the emergency room for injuries that have occurred in the home. Although accidents aren’t always preventable, parents need to take full safety precautions, especially in the kitchen, because of its common family use.

Communication Is Key

Even if you feel your child may be too young to understand the concept of kitchen safety, you can still be a visual example of what to do while prepping and preparing meals. It is imperative that all cleaners and toxic substances be relocated from under your kitchen sink. Installing cabinet locks on other kitchen doors to keep your toddlers safe is also a good idea. For older children, listening and following directions are most important. Since children learn by example, your focus on the importance of kitchen safety in the home will be important to your child.

Other kitchen safety tips include first and foremost, wash your hands well, and have a clean workspace while making sure your kitchen floors are clean and free of clutter as well. Make sure you are with your child constantly to supervise and help them. Have your children learn the importance of cleaning up surfaces and utensils as you go instead of waiting to clean spills and piling dishes in the sink. Potholders need to be within reaching distance to be used quickly. Make sure pot handles on the stove are turned towards the back so they can’t easily be bumped and cause a potential burn hazard. Last but certainly not least, teach your children age-appropriate knife safety skills. Small plastic or butter knives are good to start with and then gradually go to kid-friendly plastic kitchen knives. As age and knife safety knowledge permits, teach your children how to use, clean, and store kitchen knives safely.

Use enough soap that your hands look like a snowman’s hands after rubbing them together!

Use enough soap that your hands look like a snowman’s hands after rubbing them together!
Kimberly Baker, ©2019, Clemson University

A good example of knife safety is to always cut away from your fingers.

A good example of knife safety is to always cut away from your fingers.
Carol D. Salley, ©2020, EFNEP, Clemson University Extension

Following simple kitchen safety rules will result in many hours of fun family time and allow children to actively participate in family meal prep while also learning some important new life skills.

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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