At the start of adolescence, it is common for kids to begin exploring the kitchen and start cooking on their own. Although cooking for kids at this stage in life can be as simple as placing a frozen dinner in the oven, it is still important to teach your child safety precautions while in the kitchen.
- Wash your hands
Germs can easily spread from your hands to your food, and anywhere else around the kitchen. To prevent the spread of germs, ensure you child understands the importance of washing with soap and warm water. This includes not only washing your hands before cooking but anytime you touch raw food, the trash can or any pets.
- Make sure your workspace is clean
After a long day at school, your child may just want to come home and place some food on the stove despite the kitchen’s condition. However, it is important to make sure your child knows to thoroughly clean their work spaces, utensils and dish cloths before cooking as dirty kitchen items can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Check the expiration date of all meals and ingredients
If your child were to eat expired or improperly stored food, they could get sick. To prevent possible illness, have your child check the expiration labels on food products before consumption. Be sure to also remind your child to store items the way the packaging suggests.
- Secure any dangling items
Long, hanging hair or loose-fitting items of clothing can get caught in cooking equipment or catch fire. To prevent any disasters, make sure your child always rolls up their sleeves and ties back their hair if it is long.
- Use oven mitts to handle hot items
By adolescence, most children know to avoid touching hot items without an oven mitt or potholder. However, it is common for children to forget the basics if a food item begins to start burning or smoking. Remind your child that burnt food is always better than burnt hands and to always use an oven mitt.
- Monitor pot handles
When pot handles face the front of the stovetop, there is an increased risk of the pot’s hot contents splattering or spilling. To prevent this, instead of turning pot handles to the side, have your child always remember to face handles toward the back of the stove.