We all want our kids to be safe in the kitchen. It’s terrible to think of our little one suffering with cuts, scalds and burns – but it happens, and it’s increasing.
According to research from KidSafe, the level of new burn patients admitted to hospital has increased over the past 4 years by a staggering 65%, mostly in children under 4 – and it’s the kitchen where most of these burns occur.
Many parents take special care with their kids in the bathroom – turning the hot water system below scalding point, supervising them in the bath or shower and keeping hot tongs out of reach. However in the kitchen it’s easy to leave a hot drink on the edge of the bench without thinking. A little one who can’t see the top of the bench can easily pull the hot cup over onto themselves, scalding their chest, neck and shoulders. Babies and toddlers skin is more delicate than an adult, and what may feel only hot to an adult can cause quite severe burns to a small child.
Scalds make up about half of all patients treated at the Stuart Pegg Paediatric Burns Centre (RBH). That’s about 300 children every year.
Burns from electric hotplates can also occur – old hotplates that have been off for a while can still retain a lot of heat which can still burn a little one’s skin if they touch it. Hot kettles and saucepan spills are also dangerous.
Protect your small people by banning them from the kitchen if you have hot things on the stovetop or bench (a gate is good if you have a doorway to put it across). Make sure your tea or coffee is in the middle of the bench so that your little one can’t reach it, and check for any cords hanging down within reach from kettles or hot appliances. Electric stove guards are another good idea if you have hotplates. If you’re replacing your stove, choosing a wall oven rather than an under-bench one is a good idea as well. You could also consider elevating them to the bench top a safe distance from the stove so that they can see what’s going on, and giving them something safe to do while you cook.
(The Learning Tower can help with safety in the kitchen by giving your children a safe nonslip cage that elevates them to the bench height, while ensuring they can’t slip or fall out of it. The adjustable height platform means that you can always ensure they are balanced, and the sturdy non-slip construction stops it from toppling over. You can put your child in the Learning Tower, give them something safe to do such as mixing or chopping with a safe knife, and they can still be part of the action but away from the hot stove. For more information or to purchase a Learning Tower, visit www.learningtower.com.au).