Kitchen Injuries: Your kitchen is more than the area where you prepare meals and have cozy conversations with your loved ones. If you aren’t a cautious cook, your cooking space could become a hotspot for mishaps, from cuts to burns, slips, and falls.
Statistics show that more than 35% of residential fires start in the kitchen. Nearly 160,000 children sustain injuries in kitchen accidents in the US every year. Adults are no exception to these risks.
Many of the kitchen mishaps are avoidable, provided you follow the essential precautions and safety rules every day. Awareness of potential threats is the best start because it keeps you a step ahead of everyday risks and unexpected accidents in this part of your home. Additionally, you can follow a few best practices to ensure a safe and injury-free environment.
We will share a few actionable guidelines to help you enjoy your time in the kitchen without stressing about injuries.
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Invest in Top Quality Appliances
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, unattended equipment causes over one-quarter (29%) of reported cooking fires at homes and nearly half of the associated deaths. Faulty appliances are another risk factor, despite extensive regulations and safety requirements. Air fryers have witnessed recalls across several brands in recent years. Similarly, an Instant Pot explosion is another concern for Americans.
TorHoerman Law notes that faulty Instant Pots and pressure cookers can cause explosions and severe injuries such as severe burns, cuts, bruises, lacerations, eye injuries, hearing loss, and post-traumatic stress disorders. While victims can hold manufacturers liable for defective products, such mishaps can leave them scarred for a lifetime.
It is best to invest in top-quality appliances to prevent such mishaps in the first place. Additionally, you must ensure maintenance because well-maintained appliances are less likely to malfunction. Regularly inspect them to check for any loose or damaged parts. Invest in repairs or replacement for such appliances sooner rather than later. Also, pay attention to electrical cords to ensure they are not frayed.
Be Mindful About Cooktop and Oven Safety
Besides faulty appliances, cooktops and ovens are perhaps the most risky elements of a kitchen. Cooktops have higher injury and death rates per 1,000 reported fires than other cooking equipment. Surveys show that they are involved in 53% of home cooking fires, 74% of the injuries, and 88% of the deaths.
The good thing is that most of these mishaps are avoidable with a little caution. For example, use backburners whenever possible to ensure that hot pots and pans are out of reach. Remember to turn pot handles inward to prevent accidental spills. Regularly check gas stoves for any leaks and turn them off after use. Invest in quality oven mitts to protect your hands from burns while baking.
Handle and Store Kitchen Tools Properly
Did you know that over one-third of kitchen injuries involve knives? The statistic is a stark reminder of the threat that knives and blades pose to novice home chefs. At times, even seasoned ones may sustain injuries because they do not practice caution while handling and storing these tools. A minor slip while cutting and chopping is enough to cause sharp cuts and blood loss.
Create a designated storage area for all knives and cutting tools. You can use a magnetic strip to prevent accidental cuts when reaching into drawers. Ensure it is away from the reach of children and educate family members about the importance of handling knives with care. Use proper cutting techniques and tools like cutting boards to minimize injuries. Discard blunt knives and broken boards from your cooking space as they can affect cutting and chopping safety.
Organize Your Kitchen
A well-organized kitchen does more than look aesthetic, enhances efficiency, and simplifies cooking tasks. It can prevent accidents and create a safe cooking zone for you and your family. Proper kitchen organization starts with designating specific areas for different activities, such as chopping, cooking, and washing dishes.
Store frequently used items at accessible heights to minimize unnecessary reaching and avoid falling objects. Declutter your kitchen regularly and keep the floor clear of obstacles. As a rule, you should promptly clean up spills to prevent slips and falls. Organizing your cooking space streamlines the workflow and reduces the risk of collisions when family members work in the kitchen simultaneously.
Besides maintaining properly designated areas, you must go the extra mile for the safety of children and pets. Keep them at least three feet away from the cooking area because having them around unchecked is like waiting for a disaster to happen. Never carry a child while cooking, no matter how good you are at multitasking.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
The right clothing is perhaps the most underrated element of kitchen safety. However, it can contribute to a safe cooking space. Avoid materials that catch fire easily and skip outfits with loose and flowing sleeves as they can get caught in appliances. Aprons can be an extra layer of protection against spills and splatters. Any combustible material should be away from cooktops, whether food packaging, oven mitts, your apron, or garments.
Remember to invest in the right footwear because they can save you from slip-and-fall mishaps in the kitchen. Closed-toe, non-slip shoes are ideal for navigating wet and slippery surfaces.
Also, have heat-resistant gloves at hand so that you can quickly use them when handling hot dishes or cookware. Stocking up your kitchen with a first-aid kit is essential as it can be your savior in the event of a sudden accident.
Kitchen safety should be a top priority for homeowners, considering the risk of injuries and accidents in this part of the home. While risks abound, the good thing is that a little caution can address most of them. These preventive best practices can help you create a secure and enjoyable cooking environment.
Most importantly, be vigilant and have a good presence of mind when working in the kitchen. Follow these guidelines as kitchen rules and enforce them for your loved ones as well.