Kids in the Kitchen Must Be Taught Safety First

by Daniel Sherwin
blogger at DadSolo.com

Note: I have no idea why Daniel approached us–a bakery with no blog and no habit of teaching kids–asking to write an article for us. But I used to be a writer and know how tough it is starting out. So we said, sure, we’ll post it. Best of luck, Daniel!

When we have kids, one of the most rewarding aspects of seeing them grow is witnessing how much they are just like us. Our shared genetics and the human condition often mean that children gravitate toward the activities their parents enjoy. For many kids, this means imitating our parents, and that includes baking and cooking. Kitchen-related activities can be an ideal time to form greater bonds between parent and child, but that bond must include lessons in safety.

Begin by Quizzing Them

If you really want to ensure that your child will consistently practice safe behavior in the kitchen, not only should you model that behavior, but you can utilize this unfilled quiz and guide, complete with recipe forms, safety questions, etc., courtesy of Kids Health. It’s an interactive tool that runs the gamut of kitchen safety.

Once you’ve taught your kids the must-knows of cooking and baking safety, you can ask them your own variety of questions similar to the Kids Health worksheet. Tests and quizzes don’t have to be a snore, and teaching your child kitchen in a quiz-like format can make sure they truly know the information that will keep them safe.

Check Your Safety Equipment

One aspect of cooking and baking safety is preparing for the worst. This means ensuring that the devices that detect danger are functioning. Start with your smoke detector, putting in fresh batteries and testing it.

Another item that could be easy to overlook is the vent above the stove top. This can help with excess smoke and heat that arises from your pots and pans. In addition, check that your fire extinguisher is up to date. You should also teach your children to use it should something unforeseen happen, especially if there is not another adult in the home.

Other Kid-Related Safety Tips

Safewise is spot-on when they advise dressing a child in an apron, going over the importance of oven mitts, and keeping their recipes age-appropriate. When deciding which recipes and activities are ideal, refer to this guide from the BBC’s Good Food that helps correspond certain recipes and activities with children of various ages.

Snack Works offers some tips for parents of children who are acting as their little helpers during cooking and/or baking sessions. Teach your child about the dangers of heat-emitting devices, such as ovens, stove tops, toasters, etc. You must also decide if your child is old enough to handle a knife as part of cooking and baking, and if they are, keep a close eye on them as they slice and dice.

What’s Cooking America adds several cooking-centric lessons that you can impart on your child-helper when it comes time to making the actual recipes. Parents should never leave their child unattended in the kitchen for any significant period of time, especially when heat-emitting appliances are turned on. Furthermore, turning pot and pan handles away from the edge of the stove top can prevent dangerous spills that result from an accidental catch on a protruding handle.

Don’t Forget Food Safety

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Eat Right program offers a slew of food safety guides for several different scenarios. Teaching a child the importance of food safety may be last on this list, but it’s definitely not least.

Kraft’s top 10 food safety tips are a must-read for any parent cooking and/or baking with their kid. They cover the importance of handwashing, proper handling of raw food, appropriate cooking temperatures, and much more. A child who experiences illness as the result of irresponsible food safety practices may be turned off from the activity for the foreseeable future, if not forever, so make sure this step isn’t skipped when teaching your child cooking and baking safety.

Conclusion

Cooking and baking are one of the pleasures that modern technology has helped to elevate and simplify. It can also be an activity that fosters stronger bonds between a child and their parent. But cooks and bakers – even the non-professionals – must abide by the basic rules of kitchen safety. This is all the more true when a child is present in the kitchen.

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