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Kids love to play and one of the favorite play places in the house is the kitchen. However, given the central role of the kitchen in the family (preparing, cooking, dinning and socialize), many objects that may accumulate in the kitchen are potentially dangerous to the children, especially below 7 years. So you need a way for baby proofing to make the kitchen welcome to them but also ensuring child safety.
Besides loving to play, kids also like to go looking for trouble, pulling electric cords, connected appliances, opening the cabinets to remove knives and chemicals to name but a few. So how do you protect them from these troubles while allowing them to explore? The answer is by baby proofing / childproofing your kitchen and the whole home in general. However, here, we are going to take you through the appropriate steps you can take to baby proof your kitchen to ensure child safety and make it safe to stay, play as well as learn from you as you prepare, cook and clean.
10 Amazing Ways for Baby Proofing your Kitchen
Child Locks on Cabinets (Under-Counter Locks).
Cabinet locks will stop the kids from picking dangerous items such as knives, detergents, pesticides, cleaning products, and any other toxic household chemicals from the kitchen cabinets.
In addition to using child locks for childproofing, you can also take extra steps to make it harder for them to reach these objects. Such steps could include:
- The sharp objects/knives should be locked up in a high cabinet instead of the lower ones.
- You can also use a silverware sorter for the larger knives. Keep these knives in the sorter and ensure that all the blades are pointing in one direction.
- For the smaller knives which can be more dangerous to the kids (since they are easy for them to carry), keep them in clear rectangular Tupperware containers (with self-locks if possible) and keep them sorted by type.
- For the kids who can climb, you can keep the child-friendly plates in lower shelves (so that they can find them and help themselves) and keep the nice plates locked up.
- Make It Easy For Them To Reach Their Stuff.
When children go to the kitchen, they will look for “interesting” things to play/work/help you with. Why not encourage them to use the safe ones such as sponges, empty yogurt containers, wooden spoons, foil pie plates and plastic containers (Tupperware). The best way to this is to make these safe and “interesting” things easily accessible to them. So keep these under the sink so if they do get to be in the kitchen they know where there stuff to play with is.
You can also set aside at least one cabinet for the baby to open and explore. This cabinet should not be too close to the oven and stove. Then fill the cabinet will all the above objects for them to easily find and fill involved.
Install Baby gates (Child Safety Gates) On Kitchen Doors.
This is a more aggressive option because it will completely block off the kids from entering the kitchen. It may deprive them of the opportunity to be close to you and learn from you. However, if you have no problem with it and you do not want to keep of locking this and that, then just install safety gates which children cannot climb. For gallery kitchen layouts, it is easy singe they only have a single entrance to the kitchen. In this case, only one gate is needed. But for open and inviting kitchen designs which are fully integrated with the rest of the house, they have many entrances which will call for more than one child proof safety gates. You will find a variety of safety gates in different materials such as Plexiglas gates, wood, metal, plastic, etc.
Regalo Extra WideSpan Walk Through Safety Gate.
- Pressure mounted, Easy to install and remove
- Lever style handle with safety lock offers an easy one touch release
- Durable steel design and convenient walk through.
- Perfect for wide openings, kitchen doorways etc.
An alternative to safety gates are the Dutch doors. These are more expensive than the safety gates but their advantage is that they are more permanent, will remain useful even when your child grows up. They can as well then block pets into the kitchen.
- Baby Proof Your Cook Tops.
(I) Install Stove Guards.
These are shields which wrap around the cook range so that kids are prevented from burning or scalding themselves on the stove or hot utensils on the cooking range. It is best if you choose a guard which does not melt, can be easily installed and fits very well on your stove. Check out this stove guard
(ii) In addition to stove guards, other alternatives are available to you for baby proofing kitchen stoves. For example, installing latches on the doors to the cook-tops (oven), microwave, and refrigerator, and putting knob covers on all stove knobs. Knob covers ensure that the child is unable to turn on the burners. For gas stoves, if you are not cooking, you may be able to easily remove the dials.
(iii) Use the rear hot plates while cooking. It is harder for the child to slide their hands to these rear hot plates. This reduces their chances of getting burnt if they tried to touch the plates. However, if it becomes unavoidable to use the front plates, make sure that the handles to the cooking utensils are turned to face inwards so that the kids cannot easily grab them and pull them down.
- Baby Proof the Dishwasher:
The dishwasher can be a great help in the kitchen with regard to keeping utensils clean. However, in the presence of a baby, it can also be a danger waiting to happen. The sweet smell of detergents used in dishwasher can be luring to children, who may end up opening the machine and getting in contact/playing with the dangerous contents of the dishwasher (e.g. Soap detergents, Dish soap, dirty knives, glass, china and cutlery).
To avoid this, you can secure the door’s dishwasher with multipurpose straps. These straps will help to prevent the baby’s access to the contents of the dishwasher.
Munchkin Xtraguard Dual Action Multi Use Latches, 2 Count
- These will secure cabinets, drawers, appliances, toilet seats, and more
- Flexible strap allows latching around corners
- Easy to install with provided adhesive.
- They won’t damage furniture and is easy to remove.
- Cover All Low Electrical Outlets And Stow Appliances And Electronics
Children love to grab electrical wire or playing with uncovered plugs. To protect them from electrical dangers, consider using Outlet plug covers when there’s nothing plugged into the wall. Also, have a separate and protected a drawer for your electronics such as phones, the Amazon echo etc., which you may need in the kitchen.
- Remove All Table cloths And Runners from nearby Tables.
The little ones will innocently yank on any fabric that is within their reach. But when they pull, anything resting on the tablecloth will come tumbling down. So, if you have a child around, consider removing these cloths and any runners from the tables. If you want to add color to the dining area, you can do so through pillows and cushions.
- The Kitchen faucet is another interesting piece for kids, which you needs baby proofing by equipping it with an anti-scalding device or setting your water heater to 120 degrees or lower.
- Develop Child Safe Kitchen Habits: Lastly but not least, you should also consider developing child safe kitchen habits within your kitchen working routines. Such safe habits include;
- Returning objects to cabinets as soon as you have finished using them.
- Watching where you leave hot beverages.
- Not leaving anything hanging over the edge of cabinets.
- Not leaving any appliances plugged in.
- Keeping watch of all kitchen items you leave to dry.
10. Other Important Points Regarding Baby Proofing Your Kitchen
- The best baby proofing is the parents’ supervision. You must be able to keep an eye on the child while you cook. If you cannot provide this supervision, it is best advised that you find them another spot, e.g. a play yard nearby. Alternatively,
- Create child centers in the kitchen where the kids will fill welcome. For example, creating a kids corner in your kitchen gives them a prime spot to play while you are cooking, but also giving your ability to watch over them. This makes them feel close to you and involved. In their kids’ corner, you can put for them art materials, allow them to do all the coloring they want (put a note center).
- If you want them to get more involved and introduced to the world of cooking, you can let them learn from you as you prepare. The problem is that they are shorter than the preparation table and you don’t want them to stand on top of the table.
For this, parents use a purpose made child step. This baby proof step provides your child with the freedom of unrestrained movement while providing a safe and protected environment for them to learn the art of cooking.
Little Partners Learning Tower Kids Adjustable Height Kitchen Step Stool.
- BOND WITH YOUR CHILD – No more peaking over the edge of the counter.Teach them how to cook, clean up and wash dishes.
- Have some fun rolling pizza dough together or using the cookie cutter for holiday cookies.Teach them responsibility too.
- Perfect for the curious little learner in your family.
- Sits flush with the edge of most counters and kitchen islands.
- Made from high quality sturdy wood.
Another favorite for parents who want their kids to pretend that they are cooking a big feast for the whole family is a kid’s kitchen. Kids’ kitchens are designed with close attention to detail and interactive features. Doors open and close. Oven knobs click and turn. Cordless phone. Removable sink for easy cleanup etc.
KidKraft Vintage Kitchen
(Available in many colors – white, blue, pink, red, black front, medium pink)
That is it. We know there are many creative parents out there who use other baby proofing techniques we have not covered here. If you would love to share your baby proofing methods with the readers, please post them in the comments below. We would love to hear from you and how you ensure child safety and involvement in your kitchens.
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