Little Hands and Kitchen Safety

April 21, 2020

by Aaron Pflug • Kidzeum Staff

We’ve suggested all kinds of things to do in the kitchen over the past few weeks! From volcanoes to starting seeds, the kitchen just seems to have the right characteristics for scientific projects and pursuits. But, at some point, someone is going to have to make dinner!

Someone may then find they have some helping hands! Or, someone may decide it’s just time to learn some kitchen basics. Either way, when kids are helping with food preparation and cooking, safety is the primary concern. So, let’s wash our hands thoroughly and review the basics of kitchen safety!

While looking over various resources on kitchen safety and kids, a pattern emerged. Kitchen safety seems to break down into awareness and understanding of two kinds of potential problems: bigger things that will cause injury and smaller things that will make us sick.

Little Hands in a Big World

The first thing to remember about kids in the kitchen is that they probably need to wash their hands! The second thing to remember is nothing in the kitchen was made for someone their size. Counters are out-of-reach; handles – for everything, even basic utensils – may be too big to hold securely; exposed hot surfaces and sharp edges are everywhere. The potential for injuries of all kind – cuts, burns, bruises, breaks – exist even when properly using cooking implements and appliances.

Obviously, all of that requires exercising and transferring the (common) sense of caution to an eager young cook. It may also mean adjusting a step or task or normal method to safely accommodate those smaller hands. Even after careful set up and initial instruction, an adult being ready-and-able to assist a young cook with any task is paramount.

Another big thing that will go a long way toward avoiding injury in the kitchen is keeping a young chef focused on the task at hand! The kitchen is no place to learn hard lessons about not paying attention or getting distracted. Requiring a new helper demonstrate the ability to focus on simple, even tedious, safe tasks before moving on to increasingly difficult or potentially dangerous tasks may help ensure they are truly ready when the knives come out or the pan gets hot!

Little Hands in a Micro World

Definitely: before, during, throughout, and after time working on food preparation in the kitchen, everyone should wash their hands!

“But, why?” someone may ask.

Because food-related bacteria and other microbes abound within the kitchen and not taking the proper precautions or following proper procedures puts everyone at risk. In the most straightforward terms, it is that simple.

Keeping things clean, washing your hands, and properly preparing and/or cooking food will protect the recipients of that meal from what will be, in the best cases, an unpleasant experience!

So, invite the kids in to help with dinner, just be ready to give them the rundown on proper kitchen safety! Be ready to give it to them again the next time…and maybe the next time, too. It’s worth the effort, though, as cooking is something truly enjoyed by many and will at some point be necessary for most of the rest.

Keep an eye out for more kitchen content this week! And, just to be safe: make sure everyone has washed their hands one last time!

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