Whether you just found out you're pregnant, have a baby ready to crawl or are recent retirees planning to have grandkids over more frequently—childproofing the kitchen is essential. The kitchen is rife with hard surfaces, harsh corners, sharp edges and flammable opportunities - all of which seem to attract the attention of children.
We have 5 recommendations for designing a child-friendly kitchen and then taking extra steps to child-proof it during your children's younger years.Here are 5 things to think about:
- Round those edge details. When you choose your countertop surface, you'll have plenty of options for the countertop slab edge details. We recommend using a style with a rounded edge, which is much more forgiving on heads that bump against them.
- Hygienic options. Kids spill, drop, splatter and smush - and they don't always tell you about it. Even if they do, or you catch the spills in action, there's a whole lotta wiping going o in a busy family kitchen. Quartz and Corian are excellent countertop solutions because they're virtually indestructible, easy to clean, maintain and are hygienic.
- Lowered countertop heights. Consider lowering a section of countertop to a child-friendly height. By having a kitchen surface well within their reach, children can safely prepare their own food without stretching or standing on other furniture - making them more accident prone.
- Touch-free faucets. Kids have a hard time turning faucets on and off, and can accidentally kick on water hot enough to scald. Touch-free faucets are the solution and can be pre-set to a safe "start temperature" that can be changed once the faucet is on and running.
- Kid-friendly storage. Dedicate a drawer and/or cabinet in the under-cabinet section and organize it with kid's plates, bowls, cups, and utensils, as well as some of their favorite snack items. Refrigerator drawers can be great for this too. That way, kids have everything they need at a safe operating level.
“My family uses a bottom kitchen cabinet to store snacks for our kids,” says Lauren Kim of DIY and decorating blog Mom Home Guide. “The snack cabinet came in handy when my daughters were tots, since our upper cabinets were impossible for them to reach. The snack cabinet still comes in handy now that my girls are teens - they can find all of their favorite snack items in one place.”
Simple Steps for Child-Proofing the Current Kitchen Design
Not planning on designing a new kitchen anytime soon? No problem. These childproofing techniques will still do the trick.
Baby-Gate your galley kitchen. The good news about galley kitchens is that there are only one (or maybe two) ways in and out. That means you can use a baby gate to keep children out. Get one that's higher than you think—even small babies can surprise you with their climbing skills.
Switch-out toxic cleaners. If you haven't joined the eco-friendly bandwagon yet, now's a good time to start. Get rid of toxic cleaners so they aren't a threat, and replace them with non-toxic, earth-friendly versions. You'd be amazed what a little vinegar and water can accomplish!
Lock cabinet doors and drawers. Baby locks for cabinet doors and drawers are a must. They prevent babies and young children from gaining access to dangerous items. Kitchen Magic parents seem to prefer the Munchkin Xtraguard Dual Action Multi Use Latches. Nope, we don't get kickbacks - we just like their simple installation, ease-of-use and the fact that they actually work.
Keep dangerous items out of reach. Even if you don't have a kid-friendly kitchen design, you can still augment existing cabinets with innovative storage solutions. Then relocate sharp knives, small appliances, and other dangerous items located on accessible countertops to their new, designated storage spots. Since doors and drawers have been locked—you're good to go.
Remember: the sharper it is, the higher it should be. Lauren Webber from www.mamaslikeme.com advises, "Keep the cabinets child proof, especially the lower cabinets where children can easily reach." Inside these lower cabinets, try to keep out any possible sharp-edged objects, or objects that can easily break into many pieces, she says, adding that when kids are in the kitchen with you, try to avoid using the sharp objects in their presence.
These simple steps can really help make your kitchen safer for babies and small children. And they will give parents and family a bit more peace of mind, too.