Childproofing the Kitchen
Some experts say that childproofing the kitchen really isn't possible, and the best way to keep kids safe is to keep them out of the kitchen completely. The rest of us have to live in a more practical world. Kids aren't going to stay out of the kitchen even if you lock the doors, so childproofing is your best and only option.
A Safer Kitchen
The world can never be entirely accident-proof, but there's a whole lot you can do in the kitchen to make the room safer for everyone.
Little ones like to reach up and grab onto shelves, which can cause huge problems in the kitchen. Move breakables and potentially dangerous items from the shelves up to high places that little fingers can't get to.
Install automatic closing slides on all the drawers to keep them shut. Drawers that stick out are right at toddler height, and that's a bad accident waiting to happen. Get soft-close sliders that will prevent hard slamming of drawers, too. They protect tiny fingers from getting accidentally smashed.
The doors of cabinets are dangerous, and so is all the stuff inside. Install cabinet locks that will keep those doors closed when they're not being used. One of the simplest solutions is a magnetic locking device that comes in two pieces. One goes on the outside of the cabinet door and the other on the inside.
If you have window blinds with pull cords, take them down. Replace your pull-cord blinds with anything else that doesn't have a dangling string, which is a strangulation hazard.
Outlet covers are very handy little devices for childproofing the home. In the real world, however, you use the outlets in your kitchen for a variety of appliances and implements that you take out, use, and later put away. It's when these small appliances are in use that those outlet covers become choking hazards for tiny tots wandering around while you're trying to make dinner. In the kitchen, install self-closing outlet covers that don't come off of the wall.
Get rid of your tablecloths, trays, and placemats. Burns in the kitchen commonly occur from little ones reaching up and pulling such items down off the table. If you must use placemats, get gripping rubber mats that are made to not slide around.
Curious fingers love buttons, and the microwave has a lot of them. If they can reach it, little ones will find a way to open the microwave, put stuff inside, and start cooking it. Get the microwave as far back on the counter as possible to keep it out of reach. If that doesn't work, unplug the microwave when it's not in use.
Add a secondary lock to the dishwasher. The hot water and steam used by this device can cause serious burns, and the primary dishwasher latch isn't always a secure device. External dishwasher locks snap right into place to keep that dangerous door closed.
The kitchen garbage is often overlooked when childproofing the kitchen, but it's full of danger. Hide the trash can away in a cabinet when possible. When it's not hidden, get a trash can with a latch that stays closed so little hands can’t reach inside.
The disposal is a machine that makes noises and often turns on with a single switch. In other words, it's a calamity waiting to happen. Protect the trash disposal with a simple solution: a switch guard. These plastic covers can be installed anywhere. Screw them in place with a drill, and you’re done.
Odds and Ends for Childproofing the Kitchen
There are all sorts of little dangers in the kitchen. Remove magnets from the refrigerator door because these small items are choking hazards. Always keep kitchen appliance cords up on the counter, not dangling down where they can do damage. Turn pots and pans inward toward the stove while you cook.
Install latches on the refrigerator and the oven door, so curious hands can’t pull these appliances open. Stop using plastic bags, and don’t store them in the house because they’re a suffocation hazard. And when you’re in the kitchen, remember to never carry a child and hot food or drink at the same time. Always keep knives, sharp objects, and breakable items up high so little ones can’t reach up and pull them down.
The best way to stay safe in the kitchen is to stay alert. Pay attention to what you’re doing and where the little ones are, and you’ll be more likely to avoid accidents. Childproofing the kitchen allows you to take safety to the next level because even a high level of awareness can’t prevent every accident.