The kitchen is the heart of the home. It should be a place to cook and eat, relax and socialise. It’s a family space where it all happens, and unfortunately that can include injuries. Forewarned is forearmed, the saying goes, so here are 9 common dangers that are lurking in every kitchen. Have you taken all possible precautions to keep your family safe?
1 – Hobs, cookers and ovens
Cooking appliances – whether they’re run on gas or electricity – are an obvious danger on account of their hot temperatures. To avoid burns, scalds, fires and other accidents, make sure all saucepan handles are kept away from the edge, and keep flammable objects away from the burners.
Teach children and pets to stay well away from the sources of heat, and have a fire blanket and/or fire extinguisher within reach, just in case.
2 – Knives and sharp utensils
Whether your kitchen knives are super sharp (recommended) or blunt, it only takes a knife slip on one wobbly onion to cause a potentially serious injury. Always use a non-slip cutting surface and make sure whatever you’re chopping rests firmly on it.
3 – Contamination
Chopping boards should be cleaned thoroughly with hot soapy water and a clean dish brush or sponge after use, to avoid the build-up of nasty bacteria on the board surface. Have different chopping boards for meat, fish and vegetables and be scrupulous in keeping them hygienically clean to avoid toxic exposure to Salmonella, E.coli, Campylobacter, Listeria and many more.
4 – Sharp metal lids
If you’ve ever cut yourself on the lid of a tin of baked beans, you will understand how easy it is to have an accident with a tin opener. Try to get a tin opener with a magnet, so you don’t have to fish out the sharp lid with your fingers.
5 – Kitchen drawer chaos
Most kitchen drawers are woefully lacking in organisation, meaning everything gets chucked in willy-nilly. It’s a good idea to keep sharp items such as knives and scissors at the back of the drawer, so that you can’t injure yourself accidentally as you’re searching for a ladle.
6 – Overfilled fridge or cupboards
Heavy items can fall out of kitchen cupboards or high-up fridge shelves when you yank the door open a bit too quickly. Make sure you don’t overfill your cabinets and your fridge and be careful to open doors slowly. A heavy jar or tin of tomato soup landing on your foot can be painful. And if it lands on the cat, well…
7 – Slippery spillages
Make sure all spills are cleaned up straight away, so there’s no danger of making the floor slippery and hazardous. A fall on a hard kitchen floor is painful at best, and can lead to a serious fracture at worst. Invest in a sturdy step stool or kitchen ladder to reach top shelves safely – no clambering about on worktops!
8 – Kitchen chemicals
We probably all have a variety of cleaning products stashed under the sink. It is imperative that you keep the cupboard secure from prying little hands and pets, so that these chemicals cannot fall into the wrong hands and cause serious harm. Better still, store harmful chemicals higher up, to avoid the problem altogether.
9 – Chilli peppers
Yes, these harmless looking little things may give some va va vroom to your food, but they can also burn your skin. When handling chillies, wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly before you touch your eyes. You have been warned.