kitchen safety

Solutions for Kitchen Safety

The kitchen is a busy place usually, with lots of meal preparation and cleaning going on, no matter the size of the household. With the importance of kitchen safety, there should be design considerations with the needs of the household members in mind.  Listed here are several kitchen considerations that may help. Use the suggestions to inspect your kitchen for any hazards and ways you may improve them.

(Get a printable list here)

Lighting
Lighting is needed for both safety and sanitation in the kitchen. Light up your sink area, countertops and table area with wall lighting or over the counter lighting.  A night-light is another safety aid.

Flooring. 
Eliminate rugs and clutter on the floor of the kitchen. Spills of water, liquids or foods must be wiped up thoroughly and immediately.  A damp mopping of the kitchen floor regularly can eliminate the slip hazards that are usually present in a kitchen. Close off the room when the floor is wet or get  an orange warning cone to alert family members that the floor has been mopped.

Flammable Items. 
Wash your oven mitts, towels, and potholders regularly to prevent food and grease build-up.  Store them at your reach, but away from flames on a stove top.

Electric Cords.
Keep the small appliances that you use regularly out where you can use them, but store the others away to eliminate tangled up cords and drop-hazards. Station the appliance near an electric outlet and remove the appliance when it is not in use. Roll up the cord and put a rubber band around it.    Do not stretch  extension cords  across the floor which  could cause someone to trip.

Fire Prevention.

You need a working  smoke detector  and fire extinguisher  in your kitchen. Read our blog about photoelectric smoke alarms.
Call your local fire department to see they have a program which provides free smoke detectors or fire extinguishers, and they will even install them in your home for you.

Safe Reaching. 
Seniors, particularly those with mobility and balance issues, should not be using a ladder in the kitchen to reach cooking or serving dishes or food items.  If needed, ask for assistance from family and friends to place frequently used dishes where they can be reached without climbing.

Safe Lifting.
There is no reason to strain muscles to lift 20 pounds of potatoes or heavy iron skillets in the kitchen, particularly if you are cooking for only one person.  Rethink your food purchases to buy small amounts of food and get some light-weight cooking pots and pans that you are not likely to drop on your toes.

Countertops and Tables.

What is a comfortable height for a table or countertop for you, the cook and for the senior members of your household?   Find a comfortable place for food preparation chores that you can reach while standing or, even better, while sitting. You can build up a counter top with a thick cutting board.  You can find a chair that fits a table and work from the table when cutting vegetables. Be creative to modify the height and size of your kitchen furniture.

Wheelchairs
If you use a wheelchair, then you may need to adapt the table height depending on the height of the armrests on your wheelchair, which are probably removable.  An occupational therapist would be able to help you modify the furniture in the kitchen for safety and functionality.

Trash Disposal. 
A small trash can is easier to lift and carry out each day than a giant one filled to overflowing  that causes you to struggle.

Storage of Cleaning Items.
Some cleaning items are flammable and should not be stored near flames or heat.  For the safety of children and elders with dementia, store cleaning items and chemicals in a place that is not in their reach or sight.

Let’s prevent falls in your kitchen!

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