Keeping your kids safe in this kitchen this half term
During the February half term, many children across Essex will be spending more time in the kitchen.
But whether they’re lending a hand or just eating you out of house and home, it’s important to make sure they know the hazards of the kitchen.
As part of the Fire Kills campaign, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) is encouraging parents and carers to make any kitchen activities a chance for kids to learn about cooking safety.
Neil Fenwick, Head of Community Safety, said: “There are lots of creative ways to teach kids about cooking fire safety. And, it’s absolutely vital that they know what to do if the worst should happen.
“So alongside the cake baking, it’s a great idea to pass on your fire safety knowhow. Test your smoke alarms as part of the activity. And remember, never leave a child alone with a hot hob, and help keep them safe by moving matches and saucepan handles out of their reach.”
And the kids don’t have to be in the kitchen to change the way you work – distraction while cooking is a main cause of fire call-outs right across the country.
Neil added: “In 2016 61 per cent of accidental house fires started in the kitchen, and 61% of those fires started because of cooking -often because of distractions like phone calls or family. So whatever happens elsewhere in your home, always make sure you have one eye on the hob or oven.”
ECFRS’s top tips for staying safe in the kitchen are:
• Avoid leaving children in the kitchen alone when cooking on the hob. Keep matches and saucepan handles out of their reach to keep them safe.
• Make sure saucepan handles don’t stick out – so they don’t get knocked off the stove.
• Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing – this can easily catch fire.
• Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.
• Double check the cooker is off when you’ve finished cooking.
• Take care if you need to leave the kitchen whilst cooking, take pans off the heat or turn them down to avoid risk.
Take care with electrics
• Keep electrics (leads and appliances) away from water.
• Check toasters are clean and placed away from curtains and kitchen rolls.
• Keep the oven, hob and grill clean and in good working order. A build-up of fat and grease can ignite a fire.
Deep fat frying
• Take care when cooking with hot oil – it sets alight easily.
• Make sure food is dry before putting it in hot oil so it doesn’t splash.
• If the oil starts to smoke – it’s too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool.
• Use a thermostat controlled electric deep fat fryer. They can’t overheat.
• If your pan catches fire, turn off the heat if it is safe to do so. Never throw water over it.
For more information on fire safety, please visit our home safety pages.