Kohl's Cares Grow Safe & Healthy Program and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin offer safety guidelines to keep teenagers safe in the kitchen
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Cooking is the No. 1 cause of home fires in the United States. As teenagers become more independent – preparing their own meals when home alone after school and perhaps taking on some family cooking responsibilities – it is important for teens to understand the risks and to know how to cook safely. The Kohl's Cares Grow Safe & Healthy Program and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin have developed safety guidelines for parents and caregivers to review with teenagers in order to keep them safe in the kitchen.
“It’s easy to take for granted that teens know what to do to stay safe,” said Bridget Clementi, executive director of Community Health and Education, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. “Having that conversation to ensure your teens really know and understand the risks and responsibilities of cooking based upon their maturity and comfort level is key to their safety. Establishing clear expectations and rules for teens regarding cooking in the home also is important.”
Following are cooking safety guidelines to review with teens:
Watch what you're cooking. Never leave food unattended while cooking. Stay by the stove when cooking, broiling or frying food. Remain focused and limit distractions. If you need to leave the room, even for a second, turn off the stove.
Keep pots on the back burner. Teach teens to use the back burners on the stove and make a habit of turning pot handles inward on the stovetop and away from the edge of the stove.
Establish a 3-foot safety zone. Keep items that burn, such as dishtowels, paper or plastic bags, and curtains at least 3 feet away from the range top so they won't catch fire. Do not hang them on the handle of the stove.
Mind the microwave. Always use hot pads to carefully remove hot items from the microwave or oven. Do not allow preteens to use a microwave until they are tall enough to reach in it safely. Stir microwave-prepared food to prevent hot spots. Know that hot liquids and steam can cause serious scalding burns. Water heated to 150 degrees can cause a third-degree burn in just two seconds.
Eat at the table or on a hard surface. While it may be tempting for kids to eat their dinner on the couch in front of the TV, make it a rule to eat at the table or on a hard surface. A surprising number of burns are caused when people spill hot food while trying to balance it on their lap.
Check your home for safety. Install smoke alarms on every floor of the home, including one near the kitchen, and test them regularly. Teach teens never to disable a smoke alarm. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and make sure everyone in the family knows how to use it. Have a family fire plan and review and practice it at least twice a year.