Safe Kids: Tips for kitchen safety during the holiday season

The holiday season is approaching, and this typically means families will be spending more time in the kitchen cooking, baking, and preparing food for holiday gatherings. Safe Kids Carroll County reminds parents and caregivers to check the kitchen for preventable hazards and to supervise children at all times in the kitchen.

Supervision of any child in the kitchen is the most important safety precaution. Supervision should be constant, close, and attentive — just being in the same room as a child is not necessarily supervising. A child that is actively supervised is in sight and in reach at all times.


In the kitchen, burns are particularly dangerous because a child has thinner skin than an adult. Because of this, a child’s skin can burn more severely at lower temperatures. Burns in the kitchen can come from spills, steam, hot surfaces, and flames — all of which can cause devastating injuries. Among children ages 4 and under, the most common type of burn is a scald burn from liquid or steam. After just three seconds of exposure to 140-degree water, a child will suffer a full-thickness burn (third-degree burn) and will need surgery and skin grafts.

Safe Kids Carroll County recommends these precautions against kitchen injuries:

  • Teach your children to stay a safe distance away from hot stoves and appliances.
  • Avoid carrying or holding a child while cooking on the stove.
  • Kids love to reach, so use the back burner of your stove. Turn pot handles away from the edge.
  • Remind yourself to check on food frequently by using a timer, especially when baking or simmering.
  • Check to make sure appliance cords are coiled and away from counter edges. Take an extra second to make sure hot foods are away from the edge of your counters as well.
  • Stay close when you are using a grill or turkey fryer.
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
  • Take a minute to test your smoke alarms.
  • Teach your kids how to cook safely.

Children who can follow directions may be ready to help out with kitchen tasks that do not involve knives, appliances, or heat. Some of these tasks can include: washing fruits and vegetables, pouring ingredients into a bowl, stirring ingredients or batter, setting a timer, and other small tasks. It’s up to parents and caregivers to use good judgment about each child’s capabilities in the kitchen.

For more information about kitchen safety and burn prevention, call the Safe Kids Coalition at 410-876-4448, or visit