These common sights in households with children make great dinner party stories, but can be a nightmare to clear up. Baby-proofing can go a long way in preventing such accidents – and it is more than just keeping the kitchen locked when not in use, installing a baby gate at the entrance or barricading cabinets and drawers.
When you're working in a kitchen full of electronic appliances, you also need to find a way to prevent your child from going around the mini-arcade, pressing buttons and turning knobs.
Use these simple tips to keep your child out of harm's way and your kitchen appliances protected:
Latch it up
Locks and latches are parents' best friends. You may already have them on your cabinets and drawers, but it makes equal sense to use them to secure your refrigerator doors, dishwashers, washing machines and other appliances within your child's reach. There are different types available in the market, such as slide locks, button straps and padlock-able latches.
Most new cooking ranges come with a security measure of pressing a button before turning the knob to switch on the stove, so the chances of your child lighting a fire are minimised. As an added precaution, use stove knob covers to prevent your child from turning the gas on. These are readily available in the market, and some can be used for dishwashers and washing machines as well.
You can also ward off impending danger by installing a carbon monoxide alarm in the kitchen to be alerted in case the gas has been running for a long time. Also consider keeping the oven's lid closed when it's not in use.
Keep switches out of reach
Through an installation by your electrician, you can use a wall switch to control the main ON/OFF function of your appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines. Some kitchens already come with built-in switches for washers. With the main switch out of reach, your child can press any button he or she wants, but won't be able to start the machine unless the main switch is on.
Even if your child somehow manages to override your security system and break into the refrigerator, make sure hazardous items are not within his or her reach. Items such as medicines and opened canned products should be kept in the upper shelves of the fridge.
The same applies to the rest of the kitchen. Your dinner plates, serving dishes and crockery are also best placed on upper shelves. Cooking pots, pans and kitchen cloths are ideal for the lower shelves as they are not fragile.
Fridge magnets can be a choking hazard. Make sure you place them high up on the fridge, preferably above the kitchen counter level.
Even if you have taken the step to store all your dinnerware in upper shelves, a full dishwasher can be an instant access to all things breakable and hazardous – plates, glasses, knives, etc. Make sure you unload your dishwasher as soon as the cycle is over.
Keep appliances, such as microwave ovens and electronic kettles, unplugged when you're out of the kitchen. Make sure the electrical cords are properly coiled and not hanging from the edge of the counter. One tug from your child and the appliance can come toppling down.
Take advantage of safety features
A number of appliances now come with child safety functionality. Refrigerators, for instance, have a child-lock feature for built-in water and ice dispensers. Ensure that the child lock is on when the dispenser is not being used.
By following these tips, you can help the kitchen be a less hazardous place for your little explorer.
Have tried-and-tested tricks of you own? Please share below.
And stay tuned for more baby-proofing tips!