Kitchen Safety Tips To Keep Your Family Safe

The Importance Of Kitchen Safety

Whether you’re just preparing dinner for the night, or preparing dinner for your friends and extended family for the holidays, it's important to keep kitchen safety in mind. This is easy to overlook, especially if you have the excitement of preparing for a holiday in your mind. Depending on the holidays you celebrate and the family you have, this could mean experiencing joyous activities where you are reminded of how passionate your family is. These activities might include things like cultural rituals, wholesome movies, and large meals. 

Especially with all of your family in one place, kitchen safety is important. This is not only for all the reasons you normally want to keep yourself and your home safe but also for the added benefit of protecting your extended family members. For this reason, it's important to keep these kitchen safety tips in mind.

Appetizing Tips About Proper Food Preparation

Food preparation is always a challenge for the host. While your relatives will almost certainly be much more forgiving of slightly overcooked meat than Gordon Ramsey, there are still some kitchen safety tips you need to be careful of when cooking up a meal. You need to remember plenty of things when handling food to ensure that everyone forms a positive memory of the holiday season.

1. Wash Your Hands

This aspect of food safety seems like the thing that's so basic a kid could remember it. However, this kitchen safety tip is essential to keep in mind and do frequently, not just at the start of cooking. Food, including raw meat and eggs, can contain dangerous bacteria that could contaminate other food, leading to food poisoning. This bacteria can survive on human skin, meaning that anything you handle after these foods is at risk of contamination if you don't wash your hands in between. It's also important to note that a quick rinse isn't always enough, and it's important to use soap to stop the spread of bacteria between dishes.

2. Keep Young Children And Pets Out

Let's face it: kids are curious little creatures. While their thirst for knowledge is something you should nourish in most situations, this is an exception. Stoves, knives, forks, can openers and other kitchen items aren't toys, and there are plenty of ways a kid who gets their hand on something could end up with serious injuries. While there is no set age at which a child becomes ready to walk around their kitchen and even provide some help in many instances, an essential kitchen safety tip is to keep any children who aren't ready to take the leap a safe distance away. 

On that note, keeping pets out of the kitchen is also essential. While animals might not have the impulse to grab everything like a child, a cat climbing onto a hot stove because it wants to push some boiling water off the stove provides a series of obvious safety issues.

3. Know The Area Around You

Not being able to find a knife after cooking with it is a lot scarier than not being able to find your socks after you do laundry. For this reason, one of the most important kitchen safety tips is remembering where you put everything and having designated spots for each object while storing it. Also, keep track of where everything that you're using is. Something in the oven? Make sure you remember it so it doesn't heat up too much. Have bowls spread out over the counter? Take note of them so you don't knock them over. 

4. Plan On Remaining In The Kitchen

This kitchen safety tip is something you've probably been reminded of dozens of times in your life, but in fairness, it's one of the most critical kitchen safety tips. Leaving could result in the start of a fire, a child or pet getting into something they shouldn't, something falling, or any one of a number of dangerous situations. Being present doesn't automatically stop bad situations, but it lets you respond right away,The only way to do this is to remain in the kitchen the entire time you're cooking. If this means tying up loose ends and using the washroom before you start cooking, do so.

Hot Tips About Fire Prevention

With all of the hot surfaces and electrical appliances in the kitchen, there are plenty of ways that a fire could start. This is a considerable risk when you're trying to manage several items at once, as a danger might pop up with one kitchen appliance while you oversee another. Follow these kitchen safety tips to lower the fire risk as much as possible.

5. Understand The Risks With Your Stove Model

Every stove is different, but they all follow the same kitchen safety tips. One of the most significant factors is whether you have an electric stove or a gas stove, each with their own benefits and risks. However, a valuable kitchen safety tip is to always consider the risks, regardless of which type of stove you use. Your stove's owner's manual should contain several warnings of what risks to be especially aware of, and keep these in mind when using it.

6. Keep Flammables Away From The Stove

As mentioned, you must be careful with stoves as a fire hazard, especially with gas stoves. For this reason, any flammable materials should be kept away from the stove.

Even something that you usually wouldn't consider a fire hazard, such as loose clothing and baggy sleeves, can catch fire, so wearing these types of clothing is not recommended. Although you don't need anything skin-tight, make sure what you wear is something that you can easily keep away from an open flame.

Additionally, not all food packaging is designed to interact with stoves, so be careful to throw away all packaging that is no longer required. Even some items designed for hot temperatures, such as oven mitts, can catch fire if exposed directly to a flame. If you're even doubting if something is flammable, be cautious and keep it away from the stove.

7. Clean Up All Crumbs And Clutter

The stove isn't the only thing that can cause a cooking fire. Extension cords, microwave ovens, toasters, microwaves, and anything else that carries electricity to heat something up can spark a flame. For example, having too many crumbs in your toaster can clog it up, sparking an electrical fire. One of the best kitchen safety tips is always to clean the area around you.

Fire isn't the only risk. Having a bunch of kitchen equipment lying around can be a safety hazard. You don't want one of your dish towels to be covering up any sharp utensils. Having a bunch of dirty dishes around can be annoying and also risks you knocking something over. Having a bunch of glasses around is also a safety hazard, as accidentally knocking one down will likely give you a bunch of broken glass on the ground. For this reason, if you're not using something, a great kitchen safety tip is to clean your clutter up or put it away.

8. Be Careful With Hot Grease 

A grease fire is probably the most common of all the types of fire that can start in a kitchen. For this reason, one of the best kitchen safety tips is to take precautions to prevent one. 

One of the most important things you can do to prevent a grease fire is to avoid heating grease or oil too quickly. Ensure that when you heat it up, do so very slowly, and it's best that you even cool it down if you notice smoke. Grease fires can start in seconds, so if you see any chance of one starting up, respond immediately. Also, when adding food to grease, do so carefully to prevent splatter. Additionally, avoid putting frozen food into hot oil. 

9. Have A Fire Extinguisher In The Kitchen

Although there are other steps in putting out a fire, such as turning off the heat and using a lid to cover the fire to starve it of oxygen, having a fire extinguisher immediately available is one of the best kitchen safety tips. Since pouring water over a fire doesn't always work as well as you would think, a fire extinguisher is often your best bet. Also, note that fire extinguishers have different strengths and purposes. Ensure that the one you have is properly-suited to put out grease fires and electrical fires.

Sharp Tips To Help You Handle Knives

One of the first kitchen safety tips drilled into our heads as kids that stayed in our minds throughout our adult years is the dangers of knives. There is an excellent reason for this. Knives are very dangerous, and no matter how much experience you have with one, you should always take care when using one.

10. Keep Knives Pointed Away From You

Being careful with knives might seem like one of the most apparent kitchen safety tips, and it is, but it's always worth reinforcing. Having blades pointed towards anyone increases the risk of injury to that person. Even when a knife is sitting on the table, it's important to remember to keep safety in mind. Always place a knife down in a way that makes grabbing the handle convenient. Not only does this make things easier, but it also reduces the odds of you accidentally grabbing the blade instead when you're not looking.

11. Use A Cutting Board

A cutting board might seem like a redundant kitchen safety tip to many people, but it serves many purposes. Having a cutting board is one of the most proactive kitchen safety tips because it helps protect the countertop or other surfaces from being damaged by your kitchen knives, and stops food from slipping while you’re cutting it. Getting the correct type of cutting board for your personal needs is also essential.

There are two primary materials that cutting boards are usually made of: plastic and wood, each having its benefits. A wooden cutting board is generally softer and does less damage to the knife. Since a dull knife has its own set of safety issues, getting a wooden board to keep your knives sharp is an attractive option. Plastic cutting boards, on the other hand, are cheaper, lighter and easier to clean than wooden ones. These numerous advantages mean they are a popular alternative. In the end, the choice is yours.

12. Avoid Distractions When Using A Knife

While having a show, movie, podcast, sporting event or other entertainment in the background can make cooking a more fun experience, you have to remember that most of your focus should always be on what you're doing. While glancing up to see that funny scene or highlight-worthy catch can be done between tasks, a very important kitchen safety tips is to never take your eyes off your knife and ensure everything is out of the way. For this reason, you should also avoid conversing with others or watching your pets while handling knives. This is to prevent an accident.

13. Wash All Kitchen Services And Tools Correctly

Like washing your hands, washing your kitchen tools is an obvious kitchen safety tip. All silverware, bowels, pots, pans and glasses need to be cleaned, as well as can openers, cutting boards and other less obvious items. 

Delicious Tips For Handling Food

Your kitchen tools aren't much use if you don't prepare food. However, there are dangers involving this as well. Food can be dangerous if mishandled, and caution should always be used. Follow these food related kitchen safety tips to ensure you don't make yourself or your family sick.

14. Use Separate Cutting Boards For Meat and Vegetables

As mentioned earlier, the buildup of bacteria from raw meat can spread to other food, leading to a bout of food poisoning. Having separate knives and cutting boards for vegetables and meat is a great way to minimize the risk of cross-contamination. This kitchen safety tip is easy to forget, but can become easier if you have one cutting board you always use for meat and another you always use for vegetables.

15. Make Sure Meat Is Properly Heated

Cross-contamination isn't the only potential problem with raw meat. If bacteria remains on the meat, it could make you sick if you don't cook the food first.

Although this might seem like a simple kitchen safety tip, simply throwing your food on the stove isn't enough: you must cook the food thoroughly for it to be safe. For this reason, it's always best to ensure you heat your meat to the temperature specified in the instructions. Specialized thermometers can be purchased for this and are recommended for this purpose. Remember that the thermometer should reach the center of the meat.

If, for some reason, you are unable to acquire a meat thermometer, there are still steps you can take to ensure that your meat is cooked correctly. A simple eye and touch test should give you an idea. The meat should be steaming hot, with juices running clear. You also need to ensure that there is no pink meat left. 

16. Know What To Wash

Some types of food often need to be washed. This most commonly refers to fruits and vegetables. Unless specified as being 'pre-washed,' all fruits and vegetables should be rinsed with water beforehand. However, do not use any other cleaning products. Hand soap, dish soap, and especially bleach will all be harmful in this situation. Rinsing should also be done before peeling away skin or other undesirable parts, such as bruises. 

Meat, on the other hand, should not be cleaned. Cleaning these will increase the odds of cross-contamination. This kitchen safety tip also applies to meat alternatives, such as poultry, seafood and eggs.

Remember To Enjoy Your Meal

It doesn’t matter if you’re a culinary pro, or just someone who wants themselves and their family to eat well, it's important to remember that when you’re done you should enjoy the meal. Don’t let the sheer amount of kitchen safety tips you’re following turn you into someone who’s no fun. Remember to relax and lighten up, especially when spending time with those who matter most to you.

This content is written by our Morison Insurance team. All information posted is merely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Should you decide to act upon any information in this article, you do so at your own risk. While the information on this website has been verified to the best of our abilities, we cannot guarantee that there are no mistakes or errors.

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