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Children are at risk

Anyone who is responsible for a child's safety — including parents, grandparents, babysitters and older siblings — must have a basic understanding of the fire and burn risks in the kitchen.

  • Keep children at a safe distance from hot liquids. A drink heated to 140 degrees F. can cause a burn in 5 seconds. At 160 degrees F., a burn will occur in 1 second. A child's quick movement could spill hot fluid and cause a serious burn.
  • When toddlers are in the home, avoid using a tablecloth. If a child tries to pull himself up by the tablecloth, a heavy object or hot liquid on the table could fall on the child.
  • Keep all hot items near the center of the table to prevent a young child from reaching them.
  • While cooking, keep young children in a high chair or playpen, at a safe distance from hot surfaces, hot liquids and other kitchen hazards.
  • Use extra caution if you use deep fat (oil) cookers/ fryers when young children are present. The fat or oil may reach temperatures over 400 degrees F., hot enough to instantly cause a very serious burn.
  • Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter receptacles near sinks and other wet areas.
  • Keep appliance cords away from the edge of counters, and keep them unplugged and disconnected when not in use. A dangling cord is dangerous because it can get caught in a cabinet door or be pulled on by a curious child.
  • Always use oven mitts or potholders to remove pots and pans from the stove.
  • Keep pot handles turned in so the pots cannot be pulled off or knocked off the stove.
  • Store cookies and other foods away from the stove area so no one will be tempted to reach across a hot burner. Store potholders, paper towels, seasonings and other cooking items at a safe distance from the stove.
  • Establish a "SAFE AREA" in the kitchen where a child can be placed — away from risk, but under continuous supervision. Also, consider establishing a "NO ZONE" directly in front of the stove. Teach your child to avoid this area. You can mark the zone with yellow tape, a piece of bright carpet or other material.
  • Use a fill-through-the-spout teapot to reduce the risk of hot water-associated scald burns. The central handle, the single, small opening, and a "spout whistle" are all safety features.

Adults are at risk, too . . .

Burn injuries common to children are often observed in adults as well, especially older adults. While the injuries are similar, the cause may differ.

  • Turn the pot handle toward the rear of the stove to reduce the risk of scald burns for all age groups.
  • Keep clothing from coming into contact with a flame or heating element. Reaching over the stove could cause garments to catch fire, especially the sleeves of robes, dresses, housecoats, etc. Wear snug-fitting or short-sleeved clothing. Pure polyester, nylon and wool are reasonably flame resistant.
  • Use an elastic band to hold long or loose sleeves out of the way. Slide the sleeve cuff up to the elbow.
  • Turn off the heat or gas before reaching over the stove.
  • If your sleeve should catch on fire, immediately cover the burning material with a potholder, mitt or towel, go to the sink and run cold water to put out the fire and cool the burn. If other parts of your clothing are on fire, immediately DROP and ROLL to put out the fire. Cool the burn with water.

Chemicals in the kitchen

  • Store all detergents, cleaning agents, bleach and other chemicals out of children's reach or in a locked cabinet.
  • Before purchasing any household chemicals, read the contents label and the "caution" statement on the package. Whenever possible, purchase household chemicals that contain less dangerous substances.

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