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The kitchen is a place where your family comes together to share more than just a table at mealtime.

However, compared to almost every other room in the house, your kitchen poses the greatest health risks and safety hazards. While accidents can still occur, you can create a safer home for you and your family by following these three tips.

Make Fire Prevention a Priority

Fire prevention in the kitchen begins with creating a safe cooking environment. Cooking accidents are one of the most common causes for fires in the home. Be sure to always keep a working fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.

Be mindful of what is on your stovetop. Use your stove’s back burners whenever possible and position the handles of pots in use on the stove inward so your child cannot reach for them. Avoid using your microwave to store food and never place any flammable materials that could start on fire near a hot cooking surface.

Toddler-Proof Your Kitchen

If you have young children around the house, reconsider the current level of safety being practiced in your home’s kitchen. Avoid leaving chairs or step stools near counters or shelves where children can get access to sharp utensils or appliances.

Never let your child have access to the toaster or other cooking appliances. Always fold and put away appliance cords that may dangle from countertops and cover unused electrical outlets with plug protectors to reduce the risk for electrical shock.

Safely Store Potentially Harmful Substances

Using child-resistant safety latches on cabinets and drawers, be sure to safely store any potentially harmful substances. Alcohol, medications (prescription and over-the- counter), kitchen cleaning supplies, and insecticides should all be kept locked up and out of reach of children.

Always call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 if you suspect poisoning. Do not wait for symptoms to occur; if the victim is experiencing trouble breathing or is unconscious, call 911.

Stephanie Neuhaus, MD

Methodist Physicians Clinic Hawthorne Court

Dr. Neuhaus answers your questions about child health and parenting. She enjoys being a pediatrician because it allows her the opportunity to help people every day. Dr. Neuhaus is always open and honest with her patients and she is excited to watch them as they learn and grow. She strives to build lasting relationships with her patients and their families. Dr. Neuhaus, a mother herself, believes in always listening to patients' moms. They know when something is wrong with their child and d ...

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