In the second of our blogs timed to coincide with the start of the kids’ summer holidays this week – and in complete contrast to our first one extolling the virtues of making Marshmallow Crispies – we wanted to explore the issue of child safety in the kitchen and to offer up some measures that parents and guardians could undertake to stop the 2011 summer holidays being memorable for all the wrong reasons.
During the long summer holidays it’s natural to be concerned about the increased risk of accidents outside the home with road traffic accidents, ‘stranger danger’ and encounters with overheated pets amongst the most common.
So it’s easy to forget that most accidents involving children occur in the home. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), the most serious accidents occur in the kitchen where, every year more than 67,000 children experience an accident – of which 43,000 happen to youngsters aged between 0-4 years (source: ROSPA).
Whilst the overall figures may shock you, the fact that it’s the youngest members of the family who are most at risk as they start to explore their new found environment, senses of balance, fun and curiosity or the pearly whites newly growing in their mouths, won’t!
The most common injuries in children include, unsurprisingly, cuts, bruising, scalds, burns and concussion and account for over 50% of hospital admissions in the under fours each year (http://www.rospa.com/homesafety/Info/re-valuation.pdf; page 13, table 6).
It’s enough to give parents even more sleepless nights!
Good kitchen design recognises the risks kitchens present to young children and can help to reduce the risk of accidents occurring whilst our backs are turned for even the shortest time.
Inexpensive features such as soft close doors and drawers (which avoid trapped fingers); locks on cabinet doors and drawers or lockable cages inside units for storing bleaches and household cleaners; induction hobs (which heat only the cooking vessel itself); rounded work surface profiles and edges that avoid sharp corners (most worktop heights are perfect for small children to hit their heads on); handles that they can’t catch or snag themselves on and deep pan drawers for storing crockery at low levels (making it much more difficult for it to be pulled off shelves) are all routinely recommended by us when we see the presence of young children in a home.
Kids will be kids and long may that continue! Accidents are bound to happen and are part of growing up. But with the help of good kitchen design it means their treatment need be limited to only a parent’s kiss to a grazed elbow or a ‘there, there’ by way of comfort!
Which has got to be better than a trip to Casualty.
For hundreds of pictures of kitchens we’ve installed for delighted clients please go to www.facebook.com/NicholasHytheKitchenDesignStudio