Safe Kids Kansas reminds parents, caregivers to keep watch for potential kitchen hazards

With the holiday season upon us, Safe Kids Kansas reminds parents and caregivers to check the kitchen for preventable hazards and to supervise children at all times in the kitchen.

“It’s important to keep cabinets closed and locked, and to store hazardous substances out of reach, but that’s not enough,” says Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas coordinator.

“The most important safety precaution in the kitchen is constant, close, attentive supervision. Simply being in the same room as a child is not necessarily supervising. An actively supervised child is in sight and in reach at all times.

“Burns-from spills, steam, hot surfaces and flame- can be especially devastating injuries,” Stegelman said. “Because young children have thinner skin than adults, they burn more severely and are affected by lower temperatures.”

Scald burns from hot liquid or steam are the most common type of burns among children ages 4 and under. A child will suffer a full-thickness burn (third-degree burn) after just three seconds of exposure to 140-degree water, and will need surgery and skin grafts.

Safe Kids Kansas recommends these precautions against kitchen burns:

  • Never leave a hot stove unattended. (Unattended food on the stove is the No. 1 cause of home fires.)
  • Never hold a child while cooking or carrying hot items.
  • Cook on back burners whenever possible, and turn all handles toward the back of the stove.
  • Don’t allow loose-fitting clothing in the kitchen.
  • Keep hot foods and liquids away from the edges of counters and tables. Be especially careful around tablecloths-children can pull hot dishes down onto themselves.

Children who can follow directions may be ready to help out in the kitchen with tasks such as stirring ingredients together, rinsing foods under cold water and using a cookie cutter.

“You know your own children. Don’t give them knives or let them handle anything hot until they have shown the maturity and coordination to do it safely,” Stegelman said.

“Some children mature faster than others, so it’s up to parents to use good judgment about each child’s capabilities.”

For more information about kitchen safety and burn prevention, visit

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