My wife is notorious for burning the first batch of cookies – every time she makes them. Fortunately, she does most of her baking as we approach Thanksgiving and tapers off after Christmas celebrations. Her propensity to burn the cookies is not because she is neglectful, but because she is in and out of the kitchen doing what seems like a thousand different things. Of course, holiday cooking usually involves more than just cookies. Sometimes we have multiple items cooking in our ovens and on the stove for extended periods of time. As we increase the number of item we are cooking, we increase the importance of paying attention to our cooking projects.
Students taking our Babysitting Safety course learn of the importance of kitchen safety to protect the children they are caring for from accidents. In our own kitchens, under normal circumstances, we are easily able to protect our children. But during the holidays, there are more people, more children, more distractions, and more opportunities for kitchen injuries. According to the National Fire Protection Association, home fires peak during Thanksgiving. They report that range and stovetop accidents account for nearly 80% of cooking injuries, and unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires and associated causalities.
It is reported that nearly a quarter-million children per year are treated for cooking associated accidents, with the most common burn occurring from scalding associated with spills of hot beverages and food. Younger children are most commonly injured by pulling pots of hot substances off of stoves, while teens tend to experience grease burns from overreacting to splatter or grease ignition. Of course, the CDC recommends that cooking food must never be left unattended.
So, to protect your family and friends from your holiday cooking – don’t burn it! To reduce the chances of burning your food, increase the protection of children from injury, and protect your home; enlist the service of one or two cooking partners (depending on the size of your kitchen). By having a kitchen partner you will:
- Better monitor children in the kitchen
- Reduce the results of distractions
- Avoid burning your food
- Protect your home and property from damage
Your cooking partner(s) will remain in the kitchen, run errands for you, and help you keep an eye on the progress of your cooking. Select people you have something in common with, so you do not feel you need to leave the kitchen to experience stimulating conversation, and be sure they are an experienced adult who can actually help you with the work. If you have room, ask a teenager to be your second assistant. You and your partner will have an opportunity to teach this person cooking and safety skills that they can use later in life or while babysitting.
To prepare for treating thermal burns: consult pages 66 of your CPR, AED, and Basic First Aid book by the American Safety & Health Institute. If you have not taken a Community CPR/AED + Basic First Aid course yet, register for ours at www.SafetyFirstJacksonville.com.
by Mark Painter, CPR Instructor for Safety First CPR and Safety Training
 Source: Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, MO.