Safety Tips For Cooking With Kids

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Holiday feasts and cookie making with the kids are part of many family traditions for celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwaanza. Parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles are keen to pass along their holiday traditions and children are eager to lend a hand with the holiday preparations, but University Hospitals' Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital experts wants parents to remember it is important to practice some basic rules for keeping children safe in and around the kitchen.

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Children in the kitchen need close adult supervision at all times, whether they are helping to cook or just watching. "Simply being in the same room as a child is not necessarily supervising," notes Walter Chwals, MD, Director of Rainbow's Level I Pediatric Trauma Center. "An actively supervised child is in sight and in reach at all times."

Consider this: because young children have thinner skin than adults, they burn more severely and at lower temperatures. Scald burns from hot liquid or steam are the most common type of burns among children ages 4 and under and a child can suffer a full-thickness burn (third-degree burn) after just three seconds of exposure to 140-degree water, requiring surgery and skin grafts. Active adult supervision is necessary to protect children in the kitchen from spills, steam, hot surfaces and flames, in addition to a host of other injury mechanisms in the average kitchen that many adults may take for granted.

Children want to pitch in and help out around the kitchen during the holidays, and letting them be part of the preparations is a great way to give kids a sense of tradition and belonging, but parents need to be sure to give children age-appropriate tasks.

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