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For any parent, something happening to your child is your greatest fear, but there’s a fine line between being cautious and watching their every move. That being said, our kitchen in particular is rife with potential hazards, from sharp cutlery and appliances, to spills and leaks. We all know how inquisitive and playful kids are, so ensuring they are playing safely is important. However, it can sometimes prove difficult to effectively childproof a room without making it feel empty and sterile.
I spoke with Elan Kitchens, experts in modern kitchen design, to understand the easiest ways to childproof a kitchen without spending a small fortune.
It’s a good idea to keep washing up liquid, detergents and other household chemicals hidden away and out of your child’s access. A high cabinet that you know you child won’t be able to reach is perfect for this and means they won’t be able to go exploring. If you only have low cabinets in your kitchen you could think about purchasing some inexpensive child safety locks for that added layer of
protection, whilst also teaching your child about boundaries and limits early on.
If your child has reached an age where they already know how to lift or unhook safety latches, then perhaps it’s wise to consider switching up your cleaning products and using non-hazardous ones instead, like vinegar, non-chlorine bleach or beeswax.
KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN
Just like chemicals – sharp knives, glassware, china and other hazardous kitchen utensils should be kept in latched drawers or high cabinets, making sure your child cannot reach them. Electrical appliances should be unplugged when not in use and cords hidden so that children can’t easily trip over them.
DITCH THE PLASTIC BAGS
Not only do plastic bags cause a potential suffocation hazard for kids, but they’re also bad for the environment. As more and more of us are pledging to reduce our plastic usage, or even go completely plastic-free, it’s a good idea to think about getting a bag for life or using tote bags when carrying shopping or disposing of waste.
SET ASIDE ONE CABINET
Children are naturally curious and a trick many parents like to try is leaving one low cabinet or drawer open for their child to explore. Obviously, this cabinet should only be filled with safe but interesting objects – think wooden spoons, empty containers and tin foil. The kids will enjoy copying you by opening and closing it, investigating what’s inside and storing their toys in it.
SUPERVISE AND EDUCATE
There’s nothing to stop your child from playing in the kitchen whilst you’re cooking, but be sure to keep a watchful eye over them and closely supervise in order to prevent accidents. For example, you could set up a play area for them in the corner away from hazards like boiling water or sharp knives. That way you’re still in the same room together when cooking, but your child is in their special area,
safe from harm.
Nevertheless, no amount of childproofing will make up for simple learning from a young age. Instilling a cautious and smart mind-set as your child grows up, without discouraging them from just being a kid, is vital – not just in the house, but as they navigate the world around them too.