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Close Call in the Kitchen

January 31, 2014

When my oldest son, Terrell, was 2 years old, he was quite the little terror – I mean angel. Like many kids, he was super busy and got into everything. One day he gave me a scare when he climbed a stool by the counter in our kitchen and grabbed my mug of hot tea. I’m talking right out the kettle, super-hot tea.

I was so glad I noticed. If the tea had spilled on him, he could have suffered from a horrible burn.

It happens more than you might think. In 2012, more than 136,000 children were seen in emergency rooms for fire and burn injuries.

This week is National Burn Awareness Week, an observance led by the American Burn Association. This year, the theme is preventing injuries from scalds. So in honor of Terrell, and all the other kids out there who have that beautiful combination of energy and curiosity, I thought I’d share a few tips on how you can protect your kids from burns and scalds.

First and foremost, supervision is the most important thing you can do. But as a mother of three, I understand we don’t always see everything so there are other preventative steps you can take as well.

I learned years ago that it’s important to keep hot foods away from the edge of counters. Like my Terrell, kids love to reach, so this will ensure they can’t get to the hot items that could lead to injuries. Same advice for when you’re cooking. It doesn’t take any extra time to use the back burner of your stove and turn pot handles away from the edge.

Now that Terrell and my other kids are older, there are still steps I can take to keep them safe from burns. They love to make their own snacks and even help me cook in the kitchen from time to time. We’ve talked about the importance of never leaving the kitchen while they are using the stove or oven, and always using oven mitts or potholders when handling hot items. Age and maturity are definitely factors in terms of how much freedom they get in the kitchen

Being a mom is amazing and so much fun. While there are tons of things going on all at once, we still try to take a little time out of our busy schedules to talk about safety and National Burn Prevention Week is a great time to talk to your kids as well. You can even have a cup of tea while you’re at it – I highly recommend the iced variety.  

Safe Kids has even more great tips for parents with children of all ages on how to prevent burn and scalds.