Kitchen safety tips for children

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home – and it’s just as true when it comes to your holiday home.


The summer holidays are the perfect opportunity to create memories that last a lifetime by getting the little ones involved in cooking and preparing meals. And, because the first ingredient in the recipe for fun-filled time together in the kitchen is safety, we’ve put together some top tips and useful kit to help ensure everything runs smoothly. 


  • Clean hands

Explain to children why handwashing is important before you get started in the kitchen – and make a point of encouraging them to wash their hands regularly as you cook together, especially after handling eggs, raw meats and fish.


  • Dress for success 

Tie long hair back and make sure children are wearing covered, non-slip shoes in case of spills. Avoid loose or overlong sleeves that could get in the way of equipment. An apron to protect clothing is always a good idea.


  • Read the recipe together first

Reading the recipe together before you start cooking means you can make sure all your ingredients and equipment are close to hand when you need them – and it’s also an opportunity to highlight any stages of the recipe where extra care will be needed, such as when you’re chopping an ingredient or using the stovetop.


  • Make it easy for children to get involved

Cooking with children is much safer if they are at the right height to see what’s happening and get involved. A small stool designed for the purpose is the best solution – this one stands steadily so your child can focus on what they’re doing and has handles that make it easy to carry. 


  • Stove and oven safety

 Show children how to turn the handles of pots and pans away from the front of the stove so they’re less easily knocked onto the floor. Demonstrate how to safely remove a lid from a pan (or clingfilm from a microwave container) by pulling it towards themselves to avoid steam burning their hand.


  • Using knives

Sharp knives are a no-no for small children but you can still demonstrate how to cut and slice with plastic knives so they have the skills they need when they’re older. Explain how to pick up knives by the handle only, how to point the blade away from themselves and to keep their non-cutting hand away from the blade with their fingers curled under. Older children can practice their chopping and slicing skills – under your supervision – with small, sharp knives.


  • Clean up as you go

Wiping up any spills as they happen will help prevent slips and falls – and carefully washing all surfaces and utensils that have come into contact with raw meat will prevent cross-contamination and potential food poisoning.


  • Take your time – and share your knowledge

Leaving yourself plenty of time makes for a safer cooking environment – it’s much less likely there’ll be a mishap with the muffins or a cake calamity if you’re not rushing!


Taking your time also gives you more chances to pass on kitchen safety tips that you might take for granted but will be valuable lessons for your little ones – for example, why it’s important to wash fruit and veg before use, which foods are OK to eat raw (and which aren’t) and what type of dishes are safe to use in the oven.


Even if you’re used to cooking with your children at home, the less familiar environment of your holiday home kitchen might present new hazards, so for cookery sessions that inspire happy memories it’s well worth reinforcing the ‘safety first’ message at every opportunity.

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