The kitchen, much like the bathroom, can be full of dangerous hazards which could cause you harm – such as burns from the cooker or a fall after slipping on the kitchen floor. Carrying out tasks in the kitchen can be especially difficult for older people and those with a medical condition.
You may have seen our top tips for older people to follow when it comes to staying safe at home. Today’s article focuses on the kitchen and what you need to do in order to avoid any accident whilst you’re in there.
Here are our top 5 safety tips for the kitchen.
Keep your Kitchen Clean
The first step to a safer kitchen is to ensure that it is clean and tidy. Head into the kitchen, take a look around and see what may need changing in order to reduce the risk of a fall or a fire. You could start off with the kitchen floor.
A dirty floor can cause it to become slippery, which in-turn increases the risk of a fall. Bits of food, water and packaging can easily find their way onto the floor, causing dust and trip hazards in the process. We advise washing and hoovering your kitchen floor at least once a week.
The cleaning should end at the kitchen floor either. A build up of grease and fat on your cooker hob increases the chance of a fire being started. The same build up on your worktops can also carry the same threat. Your worktops can be cleaned with ease on a daily basis, while the hob should be cleaned at least once a week.
Being clean and tidy also reduces the risk of insect infestations, such as ants and roaches. Allowing your kitchen to become dirty can put your food hygiene at risk, which in-turn can cause you to become ill.
Buy a First Aid Kit
Every kitchen needs a first aid kit, just in case you suffer an injury whilst cooking or tidying. Accidents can happen, even if you are being really careful. There is always a risk whilst you’re using knives and using the oven.
It is important that you act swiftly if cut or burn yourself. Leaving them unattended can cause plenty of pain and the risk of infection increases. A first aid kit for the kitchen will include bandages and plasters for you to put on your wounds.
If you do suffer a burn, St John Ambulance suggest you following these guidelines:
- Move away from the source of heat.
- Start to cool the burn as quickly as possible.
- Run it under cool water for at least 10 minutes – don’t use ice, creams or gels.
- Remove any jewelry or clothing near to the burn – unless it is stuck to it.
Think Smart whilst Cooking
As previously mentioned in this article, cooking is the cause of two thirds of all domestic fires in the UK. There are so many dangers and hazards around whilst you’re cooking, but you can stay safe by thinking smartly whilst making your food.
The first of our safety tips whilst cooking may sound obvious, but it is one that many people ignore. This is that you should never leave your kitchen whilst your food is cooking on the hob, or when its frying, grilling or boiling. Whilst you’re away, you could forget about your food and you won’t realise if it is burning or overflowing out of the pan and onto the hob.
If you’re using the hob, it is also wise to organised your pans so that the handles aren’t hanging over the edge of the hob and out towards the rest of the kitchen. Having your pans like this will make them much easier to catch as you’re walking past. This can lead to them being tipped over and you may burn yourself.
For those of you with arthritis, there are special lightweight and double-handled pans available. Having these will make it much easier for you to move your pans whilst cooking, therefore reducing the risk of any accidents.
Another one of our cooking safety tips would be avoid wearing loose clothing, especially if you’re using the hob. Loose sleeves or baggy jumpers can easily catch fire if you’re moving around close to your oven. Equally, you shouldn’t hang any tea towels or cloths on or over your cooker as these can catch fire.
Other cooking safety tips include:
- Ventilation – Always ensure your ventilation system is working correctly above your oven, especially if you own a gas cooker. It may be necessary for you to also open your kitchen window in some cases.
- Timers – You should always use your oven’s timer whilst cooking. This will reduce the risk of your food burning and causing a fire. Some modern overs automatically turn off whilst your timers is going off. If your hearing isn’t the best, we advise setting a second alarm on your phone to remind you when your food is ready.
- Electricals – Please ensure that you don’t have any electrical leads from nearby devices trailing over or near to your oven.
A build up of grease and fat on your cooker hob increases the chance of a fire being started. The same build up on your worktops can also carry the same threat. Your worktops can be cleaned with ease on a daily basis, while the hob should be cleaned at least once a week.”
Remove any Fire Hazards
As the kitchen is already prone to fires, it is very important that you remove any extra fire hazards that don’t need to be there. As previously mentioned in this article, you should avoid bagging clothing whilst cooking and avoid hanging tea towels above your cooker.
You should also:
- Keep flammable liquids out of the kitchen.
- Place socket covers over electrical sockets that are not in use.
- Unplug small appliances when not in use.
- Have an electrician check the fuse box or circuit breakers to ensure that the wiring in the kitchen is done properly.
- Keep toasters and kettles away from curtains and tea towels.
Be Careful when using Knives
As we all know, using a knife can be a very dangerous task. It is something that we should all do with great care as they can cause serious injury, not only to the person using the knife but also to those around them.
The first of our safety tips for using a knife may surprise you. This is to ensure that you keep your knives sharp. A blunt knife is more prone to slipping and cutting when in use compared to a sharp knife.
When using a knife you should always use a stable, non slippery, surface and you should always slice away from you body – taking it slow until you become confident at cutting food. Whilst walking around the kitchen you should always carry your knife with the blade pointing downwards, before storing your knife away safely after use.
Also take extra care whilst washing your knives in the sink, it can be very easy to cut yourself.
For information on purchasing one of our life-saving personal alarms, please speak to one of our friendly advisors on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.