14 Tips For Making Your Kitchen Baby-Safe
Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano
Photography by Photographed by James Kicinski-McCoy
September is Baby Safety Month, which makes it as good of time as any to pause for a minute and review ways we can keep our curious and precious little ones out of harm’s way. First up: the kitchen. Yep, the spot where all the grubbing and grub-preparing goes down is also a land mine for your tot. Below, we’ve partnered with Munchkin to help you spot trouble before it happens.
Beware Of Microwaved Food. The microwave is an amazing tool, especially for time-pressed parents. But it can also create “hot spots” in food that you don’t detect until they are in your mouth. Ouch. To avoid, make sure you stir food from the middle out to distribute the heat. Also, test the food yourself before feeding to your child. And never microwave breastmilk. Instead, place your milk storage bag in a bowl of hot tap water to thaw it out slowly and safely.
Use Heat-Sensitive Utensils and Plates. To have further peace of mind when it comes to your kids and hot food, Munchkin makes brilliant utensils, bowls, and plates that turn unmistakably white when the food on them is too hot to consume. Once the vibrant color has returned, you know the temperature has cooled and is safe for your child. Buy-bye, endless minutes of blowing!
Munchkin White Hot Safety Spoons (4 Pack), $5.50, Munchkin.
Munchkin White Hot Infant Spoons (4 Pack), $5, Munchkin.
Munchkin White Hot Plates (2 Pack), $8, Munchkin.
Munchkin White Hot Bowls (3 Pack), $8, Munchkin.
Prevent Infant Choking. Want to introduce your infant to solids, without worrying about them choking? Munchkin’s Fresh Food Feeder allows babies to gnaw on new foods and flavors, while the large bits of the snack stay incased in a mesh sleeve.
Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder, $4, Munchkin.
Put Magnets Up High. If your baby still doesn’t know the difference between playing with refrigerator magnets and ingesting them, keep them up high and out of her reach while you’re cooking (read: distracted). Those cute alphabet versions are great learning tools for your kids, but make sure you’re present if your little one still has a habit of sticking things in her mouth.
Make Sure Your Baby Seat Is Secure. If you’re using a portable baby seat that clips to the side of the table, make sure the tabletop is secure (and not glass!). If you are feeding your baby in a Bumbo-like seat, it should be placed on the floor or on a tabletop only if you are sitting right next to it/the baby. If your child is eating in a highchair, make sure it is placed far enough from a wall so that your baby can’t push off and tip the chair over.
Turn Your Pot Handle Inwards. The last thing you want to see is your kid burned by hot water or food. To avoid grabby hands along the edge of the stove, turn your pot handles inward, toward the middle of the stove, instead of hanging off the edge where they can be pulled on. For extra safety, try to use back burners when possible.
Double-Check Your Stove Safety. Make sure your toddler stays away from the stove when hot, especially if something is in the oven or if oily, bubbly food is being cooked on top. Keep anything that can catch fire away from stovetops (oven mitts included), look into stove and oven-knob covers if your child is especially curious, and make sure he or she stays way back when mama is opening the stove.
Hide Dish Detergent Pods. Thousands of children mistakenly consume liquid cleaner pods—used for the dishwasher or laundry—thinking they are candy. Make sure you don’t tempt your littles, by keeping these pods and all other harmful cleaning chemicals in a locked cabinet.
Munchkin Door & Cabinet Latches (12 Pack), $6, Munchkin.
Watch Your Tablecloths and Runners. Little, grabby hands and tablecloths and runners that hang off the edges of dining tables can be a disaster just waiting to happen. Especially if you have dishware full of scalding-hot food on top, at risk of being tugged down by a toddler. Think about using placemats until your baby knows better than to pull himself up with random pieces of fabric.
Move Your Mug To The Middle. If you’re a tea or coffee drinker, make sure you always place your mug in the middle of a table, where it’s out of arm’s reach for your tot. Way too many hot-coffee accidents end up hurting kids and traumatizing parents. Take caution!
Wipe Up Spills Right Away. Kitchen floors can be especially slick. Make sure you wipe up those inevitable spills (or get your kids to pitch in and do it themselves!) soon after they happen to avoid another spill (in the form of your kid).
Coral The Harmful Stuff. Spices, plastic bags, alcohol, and waxed paper and aluminum foil (those sharp-edged cases!) should all be put up high, or in a secure drawer or cabinet.
Munchkin Door & Cabinet Latches (12 Pack), $6, Munchkin.
Prevent Wandering Into And Out Of The Kitchen. Whether you want to keep your kid in your line of sight while you’re cooking, or keep them out of the kitchen when there are wet floors, boiling pots, or hot stoves, Munchkin’s selection of gates are easy to install and keep your kiddo where you want them.
Munchkin Loft Aluminum Gate, $140, Munchkin.
Abide By General Rules. Like any room, make sure that sharp corners are covered, dangling cords are tucked up high, electric outlets are covered with safety plugs, wobbly chairs and tables are repaired or replaced, and rugs are set on top of skid-proof mats.
Munchkin Childproofing Kit, $11, Munchkin.
This post is brought to you by Mother + Munchkin, which rids the world of the mundane by developing clever, innovative solutions that make family life safer, easier, and more fun. You can find Munchkin products at Munchkin.com, Target, and Amazon. It’s the little things!
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