Though few holidays bring us together in such numbers from near and far, perhaps because we are so focused on food, family, fun, and festivities, Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for cooking fires and kitchen equipment accidents. These 10 kitchen safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association can help ensure holiday focus remains on being together – at home – and not inside a hospital emergency room!
10 Important Thanksgiving Kitchen Safety Tips
- Test your smoke alarms. The NFPA suggests holidays are a good time to make sure smoke alarms are in tip-top working order.
- Don’t forget what’s on the stove! With company coming there may be a million things to which to attend in other areas of the house, it’s best to structure your time so you remain in the kitchen when something is on the stovetop. If you must walk away, bring something with you (a string, twist tie or rubber band around your finger, for example) to remind you to check back frequently. Also, with hot stoves, make sure children stay at least three feet away.
- Try to stay put. Turkeys take hours to cook and certainly, no one wants to sit in the kitchen the whole time. The NFPA recommends you do not leave the house when something is in the oven. (Note: If you must leave, be sure not to leave pets alone when an oven is on.)
- Keep the floor area clear so you don’t trip over toys, bags, etc.
- Plug-ins. Take extra precautions with dangling cords from an electric knife, food processor, coffee maker, toaster oven, mixer, plate warmer, etc.
- Watch those knives! Keep sharp utensils in drawers, out of sight of curious children with roving fingers.
- Position handles of pots and pans away – or back – rather than extending out in front. This will prevent walking by and boiling ingredients ending up as liquid “fire” on the skin and messes on the floor.
- Avoid fires. Make sure cloth and paper towels are nowhere near burners.
- Crowd control. At holiday time, it’s natural for visiting family and friends to want to help out in the kitchen. The more people in the kitchen, however, the better the chance for distraction and an accident so, depending on the size of the room, try and minimize crowd size.
- Slow down! Holidays can be frenetic but rushing around only increases the opportunity for a kitchen mishap. Make lists and plan ahead as much as possible, enlist the help of capable family members in food preparation, and turn this Thanksgiving into the safest one yet.
Planning on frying a turkey this year? Be sure you know how it’s done properly to avoid injury!