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Kids Getting Kicks in the Kitchen: Teach by Example, They'll Be Safe

January 13, 2001|From ASSOCIATED PRESS

There are some possible safety hazards for children in the kitchen, but it's no more dangerous than letting them play sports, according to Joan Cirillo, mother of two girls and author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cooking With Kids."

Teaching safe kitchen practices is done best by example, Cirillo advises, which means parents can't cheat by using a knife incorrectly or leaving pot handles facing out on the stove.

The "golden rules" of safety in Cirillo's book include:

* Tuck in baggy clothing that could catch on fire or get in the way. Pull back long hair.

* Wash your hands thoroughly before starting and, when necessary, during cooking. Also, immediately wash cutting boards, knives and surfaces that have come into contact with raw fish, poultry, meat or eggs to prevent spreading any germs.

* Keep a first-aid kit and fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen. Show your kids what is in the kit and how to use it. An open box of baking soda also should be kept by the stove. Baking soda, not water, should be thrown on flames.

* Use dry potholders to handle hot foods or equipment. Don't leave metal spoons or utensils in a hot pot because they'll heat up.

* Cut only on a clean, stable surface.

* Don't throw a knife into a sink full of soapy water. You won't be able to see it when you put your hand in and you might cut yourself.

* Never plug in appliances or handle with wet hands. Never stand in a puddle or wet spot while using an electric appliance.

* Put hot pots on a dry, heat-proof surface or one protected by a trivet or wire cooling rack. This keeps pots from slipping.

* Put away ingredients as soon as you've used them to cut down on clutter.

Cirillo also suggests establishing separate parent and child zones. A child should ask permission before entering the parent zone, which would likely include the stove and oven areas.

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