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Health Tip: Kitchen Safety

Accidents happen.  This is especially true in the kitchen, where many obstacles and hazards present themselves regularly.  The risk of injury in the kitchen increases with age.  With age comes decreased eyesight, hearing and balance—all of which make it that much more important to take precautionary measures in the kitchen.  Taking even a few steps to make the kitchen a safer place today can greatly decrease the risk of an accident tomorrow.

Listed below are a few ways to make the kitchen a safer place.

Place the most commonly used items in easy-to-reach places.

This will decrease the chances that an item will fall or be dropped when attempting to take it down from a high shelf.  It will also limit the need for a step ladder to reach something that is up high.  If there is a need for a step ladder, make sure it is a sturdy one with no slip grips on the steps.  Never use a chair, stool or bench to reach something high because it is much less sturdy and much more risky.

 

Keep the kitchen area well lit.

This is especially important for working areas such as the sink or any counter space where food is prepared.  Additional track lighting or under-the-cabinet lighting might need to be added to ensure that these areas are well lit. 

 

Practice good fire prevention techniques.

  • Do not leave anything unattended on the stove. 
  • Turn off the heat if exiting the room, even if only for a short time. 
  • Use an egg timer or some other kind of timer that has a loud ring to keep from forgetting about food preparation. 
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, but away from the oven and stove.
  • Keep electronics such as microwaves and blenders away from hot areas such as the stove and wet areas such as the sink in order to avoid electrical problems that could lead to fires. 
  • Keep electronics unplugged when they are not in use.
  • Do not wear loose clothing while cooking.  This helps prevent kitchen fires by eliminating the possibility of loose clothes catching on fire.  It also protects against falling and spilling by removing baggy pants or sleeves that can get caught and lead to a trip or fall.
  • Consider purchasing a stove with electric burners.  This eliminates the open flame from the kitchen as well as the need for gas.  If purchased, make sure to buy burner covers to help avoid accidental burns or fires from the hot coils.
  • Keep hair up while cooking.
  • Make sure range ventilation systems work properly.
  • Check the fire alarm batteries often.
  • Keep all towels, napkins and any other flammable kitchen items stored and away from the stove and oven.

 

Throw away any spoiled food.

It is a good idea to go through the refrigerator and pantry on a regular basis to make sure there is not any spoiled food being stored.  If left, food will go bad and may attract bugs or cause food poisoning if eaten.

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