Did you know your kitchen is one of the most dangerous spots in your house? Most visits to the emergency department are due to accidents stemming from household kitchens. If you think about it, you probably have more lethal weapons in your kitchen than the gun section at Walmart. Today, I’m going to share with you 6 kitchen safety tips that are typically forgotten when people discuss kitchen safety.
Sure you hear the typical, don’t wear dangly or loose clothes. Watch your fingers when you use a knife. What to do to prevent burns. Wash hands after touching raw meat, etc…While all of these are very important, there seem to be 6 kitchen safety tips people forget to mention.
One – Slip sliding away – How to prevent slips in the kitchen
When you spill something on the floor – especially if it’s oil – wipe it up immediately. By letting the liquid lay on the floor with your intention of wiping it up later, you may forget, and only remember once you’re laying on your back facing the ceiling.
Minor slips may cause a bruise here and there. Always take time to assess your injuries. After slipping, evaluate your injuries. If you have a minor bruise you may want to perform immediate self-treatment. If the slip causes a severe injury such as but not limited to head contusion, external bleeding, protruding or broken bone, you will want to immediately contact your healthcare provider or seek medical attention at the nearest emergency department or emergency walk-in clinic to be evaluated by a healthcare professional.
Superhero First Aid Tip: Apply a cold compress to minor bruising to reduce swelling.
Two – How not to cut your finger off – Knife safety
Although knife safety isn’t something people tend to forget about when dealing with kitchen safety, there are a few other ways to be safe when using or handling knives.
1- Keep your knives sharp. Dull knives will cause more harm than good. When your knife is sharp you have more control over it; where-as when using a dull knife you’ll need to add excessive effort to cut something, which can cause the knife to slip, taking your finger along with it.
I may have mentioned this in an earlier post, but many years ago I was prying apart frozen hashbrowns with a butter knife. The knife (which had slight serrations) slipped and severed my ring finger. It must have hit an artery because it looked like a bloody volcano was erupting from my finger. 3 stitches later, I learned my lesson. Don’t hold food in your hands while cutting – or in my case – prying food apart.
2-Store your knives either in a knife block or you can use a knife rack that fits securely in a kitchen drawer.
3- When using a knife to slice food, please watch your fingers. Make sure they’re always tucked under towards your palm while cutting.
4- If you happen to cut yourself, stop what you’re doing and practice first aid. An infection can grow regardless of the size of an open wound. If you sever your finger, wrap it up and go directly to the emergency department.
5- If hand washing your knives, wash one at a time and don’t leave them soaking in hot soapy water. You may not see them and accidentally cut yourself.
6- Keep tabs on your knives while they’re waiting for you to move them to the dishwasher. One can accidentally fall down the garbage disposal and if you’re not paying attention and turn it on, you can get knife particles in your face and eyes.
Three – Walking on broken glass – It’s not just a song
Have you ever pulled out a jar of jelly from the fridge only to find a crack in the jar? Don’t you just want to kick yourself when you don’t notice it at the store?
1- If you ever find one of your glass jars chipped, cracked or broken, please throw that jar of food in the trash.
The reason you want to do this is there can be a small glass fragment in the food, which you may ingest. I would not advise returning it to the grocery store, because there could be a chance the store puts it back on the shelf. Although you’re not going to know if they do that and because you were being a tad too frugal to throw something out, your thriftiness could have injured a perfectly nice stranger.
2- If you drop a glass jar and it breaks, don’t attempt to pick it up with your hands, regardless of how big the pieces are. If the jar breaks on the kitchen floor, sweep it up with a broom, then follow up using the hose attachment of your vacuum.
If it breaks on the counter, brush the broken glass into a garbage can using a dustpan brush. For all small remnants of remaining glass fragments, do the following:
- Put on shoes. You’ll never know if a small piece of glass landed on the floor until you step on it.
- Put on thick household kitchen gloves
- Slightly moisten several pieces of paper towel and brush the remaining glass fragments into the trash can.
SUPERHERO KITCHEN SAFETY TIPS: By moistening the paper towel the glass will stick to it, making it easier to clean up.
Four – My oven’s been busted for over 7 years and I have no plans on fixing it
Although my stove works. That’s sort of wonky.
There are a lot of oven kitchen safety tips as well, but since I haven’t used my oven in so long, I haven’t stumbled upon some bonehead moves which could put me in harm’s way. Since my stove works I’m going to share some different kitchen safety issues when it pertains to your stovetop.
1- If you have a gas range, light your match before turning on the gas.
2- Make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. The carbon monoxide a gas stove emits is impossible to detect.
3- Keep away any and all plastic utensils, foil, paper, or any other flammable items away from your gas stove.
4- Use only cookware that is suitable for gas stoves. Copper pots make for the best type of cookware, but since I’m sure you’re not gonna plunk down $2,000 for a set of 6 pans; heck, I wouldn’t. Check with your stove manufacture for the best type of cookware. Avoid using plastic or glass on your gas stove.
The perils of pots and pans
1- Keep pot handles turned towards the inside of the stove and out of reach not only from small children but also from you. If you have a squirrel moment, you may become distracted, accidentally knock the pot handle, watch the pot fall on the floor, get burned with the food you’re cooking, slip, fall and bump your head on the tile floor. It’s like a snowball effect, and we’re not talking the fluffy white snow kind of snowballs either.
2- Make sure the handles of your pots and pans are on tight.
SUPERHERO KITCHEN SAFETY TIPS: Keep a small screwdriver in the kitchen to tighten up loose pot handles.
A steaming facial should never happen in the kitchen
There’s nothing better than the steam to open your facial pores, but when that steam smacks you in the face from a boiling pot of water, we’re talking some serious injuries. One that may look like you had back to back facial peels.
1- Always use an oven mitt when you’re touching anything hot from the stove. I don’t recommend using potholders for these simple reasons:
- They typically have a small loop on the end. If you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing while at the stove, it’s possible the hanging piece of fabric can come in contact with a hot burner, causing it to ignite a fire.
- Potholders don’t cover a lot of real estate. There’s a good chance you may not be holding the entire potholder and you may scold your hand either with steam or the heat of the pots handle.
- Potholders are not as thick as oven mitts, and some don’t have the extra lining that will give you the heat protection you’re looking for.
2- When removing a lid from a pot full of steaming liquid, don’t just lift the cover off. When removing the cover, tilt and lift the cover towards you. Doing this will prevent giving you a third-degree facial, and instead, the steam will be released in the opposing direction.
Most of us love anything that’s fried, even though we know it’s not good for us. This one is simple. When frying anything on your stove where you’re not utilizing a cover; use a splatter guard.
Splatter guards are pretty cheap and they will save you hours of agony trying to stop the pain from the hot grease that splattered all over your arms and face.
3- When boiling any fatty food (such as par-boiling sausage), use a large pot and fill it with just enough water to cover the food. If you add too much water during the boiling cycle the fat will mix with the water and spill over to the stovetop. The fat that’s mixed with the water can cause a fire due to the fat hitting the stoves burner.
Make sure you have a kitchen-grade fire extinguisher near your stove or somewhere safe in your kitchen in case of a kitchen fire.
Five – Time to pull the plug baby – Dangers of small appliances
We always seem to take the smallest things for granted. Let’s talk about the cords from small appliances.
Maybe I’m the only person in the free world who would pull at the cord and not the plug to dislodge the plug from the outlet. Yes, I admit, I was guilty of this. In fact, I did it so much one day while yanking on my vacuum cleaners cord, it tore clear out of the plug, leaving me freaking out because the plug was in the outlet. I didn’t have a clue how to remove it. Being the resourceful woman I am, I did what just about every other woman would do. I called for my honey to remove it.
1- It’s very important to never pull the plugs out of the wall using the cord – as clearly mentioned above. All plugs should be removed from the outlet from the plug to avoid the cord being dislodged, snapped or damaged. This can happen by pulling directly on the cord. Not only will this cause damage to the plug (bending of the prongs), it can eventually cause a fire.
2- Unplug your small appliances when they’re not in use. Yes, I understand how tragic it feels at times unplugging your automatic coffee pot, but which would you rather have, a kitchen fire or freshly brewed coffee the second you wake up?
It takes less than one minute to reset the timer again, and less than 5 minutes to brew a cup of coffee in the morning.
3- Keep your small appliances as far away from the kitchen sink as possible.
4- Keep tabs on the temperature of the cord from your small appliance. If it starts to feel hot, it may be time to purchase a new toaster, coffee pot, electric can opener, etc…
If Humpty Dumpty used a step ladder he probably wouldn’t have fallen off the wall.
If you’re over 5-ft 7, let me say, I’m totally jelly of you. I’m a garden gnome standing proud at 5-ft 2.75 inches and shrinking. In another few years, I won’t be able to reach the dials on my stove.
One of the most important kitchen safety tips I can give you is to always have a step ladder handy in your kitchen. Regardless of how tall you may be, there may be someone in your household who isn’t as tall.
Hold your hand up if you’ve ever attempted to pull down a dish or glass from the top shelf of your cabinet on your tippy-toes, only to have it fall and crash on the floor or your head?
Come on, I can’ t be the only one holding my hand up in shame.
Step ladders aren’t all that expensive. You can get them from any big box store or even online. Standing on the kitchen or dining room chair is just as dangerous as standing on a rolling office chair. Chairs were made to support us in a sitting position, not a standing position.
Like I’ve said a dozen times, learn from my mistakes.
If I had used a step ladder, I probably wouldn’t have had to go to the emergency room to get 6 stitches in my head and be forced to wear a hat due to the bald spot the stitches caused.
These are the top 6 kitchen safety tips that no one really talks about. Are some of these new to you? If you know of another kitchen safety tip that’s not talked about very often please share in a comment below.
Until we meet again,
Walking on broken glass by Annie Lennox – Sony Music Entertainment – Arista recordings