Playing around in the kitchen is no laughing matter. While our kitchen is so often the heart of our home and social life, it is no place to be taken lightly. Knowing the most common kitchen accidents is crucial to learning how to avoid them. Take it from me; having hurt myself in the kitchen nearly every way possible, I am truly the voice of experience in this department. I know safety like I know the back of my hand (and the scar I have on it from a complacent encounter with a hot oven serves as a pretty good reminder).
I’m Oven It
That brings me to my first point. Don’t dance around while your oven is open, regardless of how happy you are. As much as I love to bake things in my oven for the family, I simply forgot how dangerous things could get when I don’t pay attention. I now have bodily evidence to prove my wisdom. We use our ovens almost every day, so it’s easy to get complacent and forget just how dangerous they can be.To prevent accidents around a hot oven, use some darn common sense.
You should also know how important it is to keep all the handles to your pots and pans pointed towards the stove while you’re cooking. My little sister once tipped a pan by the handle because she was curious; and she now has burn scars on her arm. I personally remember dragging a food mixer off the counter by the cord as a child; and so I advise that you keep all small appliances out of reach of small kids (and clumsy adults).
Practicing safe oven cooking, regardless of your mood or skill level, will help you avoid accidents in the kitchen. Remember, potholders and oven mitts are your friends. I suggest getting some that extend up your arm a bit. In addition, it probably wouldn’t hurt to purchase an oven that stays cool to the touch, just as an added measure of safety.
Dish Soap Drama
In my house, nobody is allowed to put knives or glass into the sink with the other soaking dishes. The last time anyone did this, a finger got cut and we spent the evening hungry in the ER waiting room. We don’t much like washing our dirty dishes in bloody water; and my guess is that you don’t either. So to prevent this little drama, simply wash those sharp or breakable items separately after everything else is done. I keep my utensils and glasses on the counter while I wash the other pieces; and when I’m done, I carefully wash each piece individually.
If you have a dishwasher then this is not a concern for you. However, you do want to be safe with that as well. Dishwashers use extremely hot water to clean dishes. As a result, steam often comes pouring out once the door is opened. To prevent scalding, open the door to the dishwasher with your face pointed away. I promise you that the dishes will look the same once the smoke clears. Wait.
Sharpen your Senses
Speaking of knives, sharp objects, and other hidden kitchen hazards: keep your utensils in top working order. Your ability to create delicious recipes without anyone getting hurt is partially reliant upon you having adequately sharpened knives, un-cracked glasses, and safely stored accessories or attachments. Having a cluttered cabinet can bring items down on your head once the delicate balance is disturbed; and dull knives can slip and slice a thumb wide open (trust me).
Even an old toaster or microwave can wreak havoc on the safety your kitchen. I have burnt more pieces of toast and filled more kitchens with smoke than I care to admit; and I have singed the skin from the palm of my hand many times by impatiently picking up a dish that was cooked unevenly in a shoddy microwave. This has all forced me to realize the importance of sharpening my senses and my kitchen equipment arsenal. I now pass my wisdom on to you.
Spills and Chills
I should probably mention that my family is not the most graceful bunch on the planet. We spill all kinds of things while we prepare our favorite meals. For this reason, we have learned some pretty creative ways to avoid getting hurt by the inevitable. A safe kitchen is one that is run like a well-oiled machine.
We have a strict policy to clean up any and all spills as soon as they happen. We help each other out when needed and we stay on top of it pretty well this way. Our kitchen turns into something like a playing field, with people calling out things “Heads up! Spill on the floor by the sink!” and “Got it!” Not only do these things bring my family closer together during dinner prep and allow us to have a little fun, but it also keeps us all out of the ER.
Peter Lawson is the Managing Director of Appliance Sales Direct, a pure play retail site which sells high end European appliances direct to the consumer. Peter knows all there is to need about kitchens for design to functionality. Follow Peter on Google+, Linkedinor visit his site at http://www.appliancesalesdirect.com.au