Home, Safe Home Vol.1: How to Child-Proof a Kitchen
Childproofing is essential for keeping kids safe around the house, and we would love to share with you our expert advice on the house renovations you should make to reduce the chance of accidents. Since we are talking about the safety of our little ones, it will take a few articles to get you fully covered on the topic (don’t forget to check our blog for future features).
And today we will be talking about what you can do to childproof a kitchen.
Modern day kitchens are often the hub of the house, places where families gather for a meal, but also to socialize. The rise of the open plan living made kitchen once again the hearthstone of the home, and its importance in our busy-scheduled lives keeps growing. But kitchen can also be a very dangerous space if you put toddlers in the picture. Heat, fire, sharp objects and a whole range of different toxins are just some of the dangers lurking in the kitchen. Many experts believe that babies and toddlers shouldn’t be spending time in the kitchen at any cost and that no amount of childproofing can make it safe.
Even though this opinion has some solid roots, the truth is that following this advice is simply not achievable in real life. Ask any parent and they will tell you, preparing food for youngsters is one of their most often and definitely most time-consuming daily chores. Having someone on hand to take care of the baby while they are busy preparing food is not a commodity many can afford, which makes childproofing a necessity no one can argue with.
There are numerous things you can do by yourself, such as - making sure all hazardous objects and chemicals are put away, using back burners on the stove, installing safety latches or removing tablecloths and runners from children’s reach. We won’t be talking about these simple, everyday measures today, but rather things that require professional help (or at least a handy pair of hands).
Keep Them Away
If you absolutely need to bring the baby in the kitchen, make sure to set it in a secure place. Easier said than done! Infants will be safe in car carriers, but toddlers will require some extra effort. Placing them on a high chair or in a playpen might work, at least for some time, but sooner or later it simply won’t be enough.
Safety gates can be of extraordinary help for keeping kids away from the kitchen when all of the previously mentioned fail. However, not all kitchen layouts are created equal. In a traditional kitchen with a single point of access, installing a safety gate might be all you need to keep a wandering toddler away, but in an open-plan layout, things get tricky. One safety gate won’t make much of a difference to such a space and coming up with a plan to block off the kitchen area will require more aggressive measures. You can choose to shut down the access to the kitchen entirely, or just cut it down to a small size that will be easier to guard.
Visually, it can get a bit messy, and it will probably ruin you seamlessly designed kitchen, but remember why you are doing this in a first place. Kids’ safety is the number one priority; design comes later. And after all, they do grow up so quickly! You will have your beautiful kitchen back in no time. Much sooner than you’d wish. And in the meantime, you can always paint them to match the rest of the interior.
Dutch doors are a more pricey, yet way more stylish alternative to safety gates. However, they will become a permanent resident of your household, so make sure they fit well with the environment. When kids grow older, and there is no need for keeping them away from the kitchen, Dutch doors will still come in handy. They will allow you to vent the kitchen while keeping the dog outside of the room.
Do Your Homework
If you are about to remodel your kitchen to make it more child-friendly, pay attention to the materials you select.
Natural materials like marble and granite might look smashing, but they won’t stay that way for long when little hands start spilling food and juices all around the place. Choose quartz or solid surface instead, and you won’t have to worry about stains on your beautiful new counter.
Also, no matter how sleek and modern stainless steel is, keeping it spotless with the curious hands around will become a mission impossible. Actually, avoid selecting anything too shiny, but somewhat muted, or semi-glossy.
Sturdy, durable materials that are not easy to scratch are always the best choice.
Make sure to avoid any sharp edges whenever possible and pay attention to height levels. Don’t make the kids have to climb to reach everything. Choose your battles wisely and allow them to use the table, not the counter while leaving out of reach what needs to stay there.
Put Away the Trash Can
A built-in trash can that pulls out from a cabinet is something we highly recommend to every family with young children. Not only will it look clean, but it will also be easy to lock away. If kids can’t see it, it won’t raise that much interest in them to go on a treasure hunt. Kids simply adore to rummage through the garbage, and it is not just gross, but can be very dangerous too.
If you are about to remodel your kitchen to suit the needs of your growing family, give us a call, and we will be happy to help you create a safe environment for raising your children. Just keep in mind that no amount of child-proofing can substitute parental supervision.