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As the holiday season approaches, children will likely be spending more time in the kitchen to help prepare foods for family gatherings.

This is a great time to teach and remind your family of safe cooking practices! Safe Kids Carroll County offers tips to ensure a safe kitchen environment and precautions to guarantee a safe Thanksgiving.

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Be sure to actively supervise any child that is present in the kitchen at all times. An actively supervised child is in sight and in reach at all times.

Supervision is the most important safety precaution and should be constant, close, and attentive. Simply being in the same room as a child is not necessarily supervision. Keep in mind that children have thinner skin than adults, and are at a higher risk of burns. Be sure to monitor potential spills, steam, flames, and hot surfaces to prevent burns and serious injury.

Safe Kids Carroll County recommends the following precautions to prevent kitchen injuries:

· Teach your children to stay a safe distance away from hot stoves and appliances.

· Never leave a hot stove unattended.

· Avoid carrying or holding a child while cooking.

· Kids love to reach, so use the back burner of your stove whenever possible.

· Keep hot items and pot handles away from the edge of the counter.

· Use a timer to remind yourself to check on food, especially when baking or simmering.

· Make sure appliance cords are coiled and away from counter edges.

· Stay close when you are using a grill or turkey fryer.

· Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.

· Test all smoke alarms in your home. Change the batteries if they are 8-10 years old.

· Teach your kids how to cook safely.

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Many children enjoy helping in the kitchen. The holiday season is a great opportunity for children to help out with tasks that do not involve knives, heat, or appliances.

Some of these tasks can include: washing fruits and vegetables, pouring ingredients into a bowl, stirring ingredients, setting a timer, and other small tasks. It is up to parents and caregivers to use their judgment and make decisions about their child’s ability to be safe in the kitchen.

Have a happy a safe Thanksgiving!

For more information about kitchen safety and burn prevention, call the Safe Kids Coalition at 410-876-4448, or visit www.safekids.org/fire.

Kelly McGowan is an intern with the Carroll County Health Department.

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