From Our Farm to Your Table

Teaching Your Kids Cooking And Baking Safety

Thu, 2018-12-27 17:36 -- Carole Soule

By: Kristin Lewis

Along with being an incredible bonding experience, spending time in the kitchen with your kids can boost their self-confidence while instituting practical skills such as following directions, reading, and measuring; motor skills; and early math and science concepts. But along with teaching your kiddos how to master their grandmother’s quick bread recipe, you’ve got to make sure they understand the importance of kitchen safety — because it’s a lot more risky than pretend playtime.

Provide A Safe Environment

Before anything else, make sure you are doing your parental duties by ensuring all smoke alarms are in working order, you have a fire extinguisher (and know how to use it), and you make a commitment to never leave the kitchen unattended while cooking — particularly when your children are in it. Considering 40 percent of all house fires are related to cooking, this should not be overlooked. Even small things like turning pot handles inward so you don’t accidentally tip them over with your arm make a big difference.

Sanitation First

While cooking and baking are fun, having a stomach ache due to unsanitary conditions is not. Basic rules include:

  • Wash hands with warm, soapy water prior to cooking.

  • Separate raw and cooked foods (using a separate cutting surface and utensils for each).

  • Don’t lick your fingers (or try uncooked food) during the preparation process.

  • Cook meat and fish to the proper temperature (invest in a thermometer).

  • Avoid placing cooked foods on plates that were previously used for raw items.

  • Wash utensils in hot soapy water (or a dishwasher) immediately after use.

  • Wipe down surfaces with an antibacterial spray.

Equipment Basics

There are copious dangers that come with using knives and electrical appliances, so you’ve got to make sure you’re only giving your kids age-appropriate tasks while monitoring their progress. Using the correct tools also ensures safer and easier cooking and baking. While there are some general tips you can teach your kids, keep in mind that professionals train for hours on end to perfect these skills, so emphasize safety before anything else.

  • Hold any knife with a firm and close grip for better control.

  • Make sure the fingers on your non-cutting hand —  holding the food — are curled under, and that you gradually move your hand back with each slice to avoid cutting yourself.

  • Make sure you check that all small appliances are switched to “off” before turning them on. Unplug immediately after use.

  • Don’t use pots or pans that are too heavy for you to use. Along with strain, you’re apt to spill or drop the equipment, thus possibly resulting in a severe burn.

Emergency 101

Accidents happen, so make sure you teach your kids how to be quick on their feet in case of emergency.

  • Cuts: Stop the bleeding with gentle pressure, but if anything looks too deep (or the bleeding isn’t ceasing), go to the doctor or emergency room. Clean the wound with warm water only — soap can be irritating. Apply an antibiotic ointment to keep surfaces moist, and bandages to keep it protected from bacteria.

  • Burns: Hold the burned area under cold water — not ice — for at least ten minutes. Cover with a sterilized gauze bandage and take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Advil or aspirin — make sure it’s kid-friendly if it’s not for you.

  • Fires: Never use water if it’s a grease fire. Instead, put out a fire with an extinguisher or by tossing a lid on top of the inflamed area — don’t attempt to move it out of harm’s way.

Cooking is a life skill that your kids will use more and more. Don’t be afraid to start teaching them basics early on. Starting with safety and sanitation skills ensures that their culinary journey will be a rewarding one.

Photo Credit: Pexels

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