The kitchen is one of the most dangerous rooms in the house. It contains many hazards that can cause burns and unintentional fires. It’s important to recognize proper heating and cooking equipment functions, and to know how to extinguish a grease fire. Taking steps to protect young children from these heating and cooking appliances can prevent damaging fires, injuries and loss of life.
Ovens and Ranges
Always make sure the oven and stove top is clean. If not, clean them thoroughly and safely. Residue grease and food can catch fire. Keep pot handles turned inward, away from the edge of the stove. Don’t wear long, loose sleeves that can hang over the stove while cooking.
An electric burner coil can reach a temperature of more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This can ignite clothing even after the coil has been turned off. Flammable fabrics, such as towels, dish rags or curtains can be ignited merely by being used or stored near a gas or electric range. Vapors from contact cement, gasoline, cleaning fluids or other flammable liquids can be ignited by the pilot of the kitchen range.
Children in the Kitchen
Children and kitchens aren’t a good mix. Continuous and adequate supervision of children in the kitchen is of prime importance. As a child’s mobility and curiosity increases, appropriate supervision becomes essential. Keep all hot items at a safe distance from a child.
Keep the child at a safe distance from all hot items by using highchairs, child safety gates, playpens, etc. Create a safe zone for children. Keep them out of the household traffic path and check for their location before moving any hot or heavy item.
Remove tablecloths and place mats when toddlers are present. They can tug and pull on everything within their reach. Hot or heavy items can be easily pulled on top of them. Never give children pots and pans to play with. Children may reach for this “toy” when it contains hot liquid or food.
An oven door can get hot enough to burn a youngster who might fall or lean against it. It can be particularly dangerous for a child just learning to walk who may use the door for support; the child is often unable to let go before suffering a burn. Keep small children out of the kitchen when the oven is in use.
If a grease fire erupts in a pan on top of the stove, quickly and carefully cover the pan with a lid or a larger pan. Never use water. If the fire is in the oven, turn the controls off and close the door tightly. This will smother the flames. Better yet, have a portable fire extinguisher handy and know how to use it. Make sure your fire extinguisher is always fully charged.
Always call 9-1-1 even if you think the fire is out. Fire can extend into hidden areas, let the professionals evaluate the situation.