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SAFETY PRECAUTIONS AGAINST KITCHEN ACCIDENTS

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American Writer, Fanny Fern once said: “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. And I would add that ‘the best way to connect the stomach and the heart is with a sumptuous meal prepared from the kitchen’. The kitchen is a popular space at home or elsewhere used for cooking and preparing food. A modern residential kitchen is typically equipped with a stove, a sink with running water, a refrigerator and kitchen cabinets arranged in a modular design to store cookware and other valuable items. Many households equip their kitchen with a microwave oven, gas or electric cookers, an oven and other appliances that makes food preparation easy and convenient.

The kitchen is predominantly for food preparation but some exquisite households use it for other purposes such as for dining, food storage, entertainment, dishwashing and even laundry. It is usually the busiest and most popular part of any home and good kitchen etiquettes can make it a beautiful place where every family member wants to identify with. Conversely, unsafe kitchen practices could transform that beautiful space into a nightmarish experience you could struggle to wake up from. This then leaves us with the choice to make. As kids populate homes and more and more visitors are introduced, learning how to conduct kitchen operations safely becomes a necessity.

Most families opt to replace old equipment with modern ones, enact strict rules to govern how wares in the kitchen are handled. But while this is progressive, it is often borne out of the false conception that a kitchen is meant to be safe because of kids wandering around. Virtually everyone in a home visits the kitchen for a drink, a quick meal, a washup or just for mutual interaction with family or friends. This goes to show that people of all sizes, age grades, and skillset are just as prone to accidents in the kitchen as the kids. Stringent safety measures and practices must therefore be emplaced in the kitchen at all times and for all age groups to reduce accidents and ensure we retain good memories of that essential and delicious part of the home.

It has been proven that the kitchen is the most common location for domestic or home accidents with approximately 60% of people going up the polls in the last 12 months. Since chipped objects, improperly placed utensils and untidy spaces are not only a turn off in homes, but also pose a threat on the health of individuals, it is necessary to go pro with kitchen safety.

 

COMMON KITCHEN ACCIDENTS

The list of accidents that could occur in the kitchen is inexhaustible but here are the common ones to look out against.

Cuts: Cuts are the second most popular kitchen accidents, and usually result from contact with sharp edges such as knives, broken bottles, etc.

Electric shocks: Electric shocks, often happening as a result of wrong use of electric wares such as electric pots, kettles and cookers. They are not as occurring as cuts or falls, but have tremendous effects and have led to death in most cases

Falls: This tends to be the most popular accident to occur in a kitchen, often resulting from spillage, slippery work surfaces or inappropriate kitchen wears.

Burns and Scalds: Burns and scalds are usually results of improper use of cooking wares and fire sources.

Choking or suffocation: Choking or suffocation could occur when there is inadequate ventilation of the kitchen space or when mixing ingredients that react sharply to produce harsh odours or depletes the air of oxygen.

Irritation: Irritation of the body often occur when ingredients react harshly with the skin or eye. Typically, onions make one to shed tears and pepper leaves a burning feeling on the skin when cut in close proximity.

CAUSES OF KITCHEN ACCIDENTS

Kitchen accidents refer to unpleasant and unexpected events that happen in the kitchen leading to destruction or loss of property and injuries which may be dire. With the astonishing statistics of domestic kitchen, it is necessary to understand their causes in order to know how to curb them.

Some common causes of kitchen accidents are:

Use of wrong attires in the kitchen.

Slippery or wet floors and slippery fruit peel which lead to falls.

Skin contacts with hot object, hot food or steam which often leads to scalds.

Flames arising from uncontrolled cooking with hot oil or alcohol and spirits which could cause flash burns.

Improper use of sharp objects such as knives, forks or shredding tools etc.

Contact with reactive substances like pepper could lead to discomfort and difficulties with focusing.

Indiscriminate use and poor arrangement of kitchen utensils.

Lack of rules governing stay in the kitchen or failure to abide by existing kitchen rules.

Allowing children to wander in the kitchen unsupervised.

Use of obsolete kitchen utensils and equipment.
Poor disposal of kitchen wastes which could breed germs, attract pests and cause illness.
Improper use of electrical appliances or use of faulty electrical appliances.
Being distracted or leaving food on fire or in a process unattended.

KITCHEN SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

After exploring the possible causes of kitchen accidents, it is only natural that attention is drawn to precautionary measures. Kitchen safety is extremely important, and adhering to the safety precautions outlined below can help in reducing the risks involved.

Avoid letting children or pets into the kitchen while cooking especially when they are unattended.

Attend to any liquid spills or fruit peels on floors and work surfaces as neglect could lead to falls.

Use flat surfaces for slicing foods and vegetables to reduce the risk of knife-cuts.

Wear a pair of gloves when working with pepper or any other harsh substance and wash hands with soap and water immediately after.

Do not use water to quench kitchen fires. First switch off the power or heat source and if it is food burning in a pot or pan safely stretch out your arm and slid the lid over the pot/pan as if to close the fire in it. However, if it is beyond control use the appropriate fire extinguisher while calling for help or follow the safest exit route and call for help.

Never work with water and electricity at the same time and always use dry hands to handle electrical appliances to avoid electrocution.

Keep towels and clothes away from heat source.

Do not leave refuse overnight and endeavour to do the dishes promptly.

Use appropriate cookware and ensure they are safely positioned when in use. For instance, frying pan handles should not obstruct the way.

The kitchen is not a fashion arena. Dress appropriately with aprons and gloves where necessary. No wearing of jewelries or loosely hanging clothes and hair must be properly packed and preferably covered. Also endeavour to wear closed-toe shoes, keep the heels for the dinner date afterwards.

Reduce crowd in the kitchen. Remember that too many cooks spoil the broth.

Stow gas cylinders at a safe distance from the cooking arena and always switch off the heat sources when not in use. Gas head regulators are to be switched off as well when done with cooking.
Carry out leak tests on the cylinder before use. This could be done using the senses or the soapy water method. (see here)

Always handle hot pots and pans with gloves.

Provide first aid kits, fire extinguishers, and emergency exit routes for the kitchen.

Conduct family drills on how to handle emergency situations in the kitchen.

EXTRA KITCHEN PRECAUTIONS FOR CHILDREN

Children could be problematic when in the kitchen and sometimes it is necessary that they are there for close monitoring or for them to learn a thing or two in the kitchen. These extra precautions for them could help prevent accidents.

Teach your kids to take permission before using the kitchen and they should always be supervised if permitted to use the kitchen.

Place kitchen equipment far from the reach of children especially sharp and electric objects, wares and utensils.

Boundaries should be set in the kitchen to restrict children movement.

Enlighten them on the risks of food poisoning and dangers of neglecting kitchen safety tips.

Have fire safety conversations with children and conduct kitchen safety drills with them.

Encourage Children to ask questions whenever in doubt.

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