The kitchen in many homes is a source of laughter, joy, anticipation, and of course, excellent cooking. However, if you aren’t cautious, the kitchen can also become the least safe place in your home. On the other hand, if you follow a few basic safety tips, you can keep yourself, your home, and anyone else who visits your kitchen safe from harm. At the same time, you’ll make any time you spend in the kitchen truly enjoyable and memorable. Here are 5 tips for kitchen safety to keep you, your children, pets, and other family members safe from injury.
1. Keep cross contamination to a minimum
Cross contamination refers to when food products become contaminated by other products or pathogens. It is a leading cause of food poisoning and causes many needless upset stomachs and hospital stays each year.
There are three main ways through which cross contamination can occur. The first is when bad food contaminates good food. The second is when people contaminate food. The third is when equipment contaminates food.
Cross contamination can be prevented by keeping raw meat away from other foods. This also means using a separate cutting board for raw meats and every other kind of food. Hands should also be washed whenever they have come into contact with any kind of raw meat.
2. Watch out for pets and children
Young children are naturally curious, and are likely to reach out to touch pans, pots, and stray handles on the stove and counter. It is best to use rear instead of front burners when children are home. If front burners must be used, the handles should be turned toward the back so children cannot reach them. Similarly, pets and children should be kept away from the floor areas where food is being made, as they can easily become splashed with hot liquids or grease in a matter of seconds.
3. Keep sharp objects away from curious hands
Children and even adults are susceptible to grabbing knives and other utensils that are sharp in the kitchen by accident. Knives should always be inserted blade down into dishwashers. In addition, sharp objects should never be inserted into sinks filled with water, as people will not see them when reaching into the sinks.
4. Only use non-slip mats and carpets
If you use carpets and mats in the kitchen, they should be equipped with non-slip backs. People are inevitably going to fall if carpets and mats can be moved easily. It is also possible to purchase safety backing to stick onto the rear parts of mats and carpets that you already have if you don’t want to replace your existing apparel.
5. Keep your eyes, ears, and nose open
Being observant is never a bad idea in life, and the kitchen is no exception to this rule. For example, when you get ready to start cooking, make sure there are no foreign objects or sharp tools in the area. Also keep rags, towels, plastic or paper bags, and stray papers away from sources of heat, as these can potentially ignite and start fires in seconds.
Kara is the Head Chef at one of the many waterfront restaurants in Sydney. As well as preparing world class meals for diners, part of her job involves making sure that her kitchen is safe for everyone to prevent serious injury.