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Rules and safety tips when cooking with kids

by Great British Chefs 06 March 2013

Whilst safety in the kitchen is paramount, being too cautious and overprotective can turn even the homeliest of kitchens into a fun-free zone for children. Too many rules are a turn-off for even the most curious kid; not enough rules and you run the risk of regular trips to A&E.

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Whilst safety in the kitchen is paramount, being too cautious and overprotective can turn even the homeliest of kitchens into a fun-free zone for children. Too many rules are a turn-off for even the most curious kid; not enough rules and you run the risk of regular trips to A&E. Here are some tips that will keep both parents and kids safe, interested and happy.

Warn: the cooker is hot! Leave that cord alone! Don’t eat cat food! You know the drill.

Supervise: especially if they’re standing on a chair to help, and when they’re around ovens, hobs and sharp objects.

Observe: kids are capable creatures who learn more quickly if we take a step back.

Trust: left to their own devices, kids aren’t always naughty or clumsy.

Answer: kids are the reason Google was invented. There’ll be many questions, and you must reply to each one.

Praise: for washing their hands. For helping to spread the butter. For tidying up afterwards. Good for them!

Adults should:

• Give regular reminders about what’s not ok to touch. There’s the obvious: sharp objects, hot things. Then there’s your piece of cake they’ve got their eye on.

• Reiterate from an early age that cookers, kettles and hobs are hot. Keep reiterating.

• Move pots and pans to the back of the hob, with handles turned inwards.

• Be aware of dangling appliance cords that small hands can (and will) grab.

• Keep knives, scissors, matches, cooker lighters and electrical equipment such as food processors out of reach. Graters and vegetable peelers can also be very sharp.

• Avoid having small fridge magnets until kids are older.

• Teach food hygiene, mainly washing hands and rinsing vegetables. Older kids can be taught more complex safety, such as keeping raw meat separate from cooked meat.

• Lock away cleaning products, medicines and vitamins.

• Keep alcohol on a high shelf; this not only prevents children from drinking it, it acts as deterrent for harassed parents.

• Lead by example: follow food safety guidelines such as thawing food properly.

• Exercise patience: they’re new to this and will be for some time.

• Find the time: if you’re rushing you’re more likely to have accidents.

Kids should:

• Wash their hands: the sooner they learn to do this, the better.

• Wear an apron: aprons catch a lot of the mess.

• Listen to instruction: if they won’t try cooking another time.

• Tick off a recipe: they’ll learn to follow steps and gain a sense of achievement.

• Lick the bowl: it’s an integral part of growing up.

Kids can use:

• Small, safe utensils: whisks, wooden spoons and pastry brushes are a good start. As they become more au fait in the kitchen, upgrade the equipment.

• Blunt knives such as butter knives: to save fingers.

• Plastic bowls and cups: to save your best crockery.

 
 
 

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