For many of us the kitchen is the real “family room” of our homes. It’s important to remember that when kids spend time in the kitchen, safety is important. That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style for safety. This checklist of suggestions can help you incorporate kid-friendly features into your kitchen space. Use these ideas to help you create an accessible space that is safe and comfortable for users of every age. Keep the kids safe and make them feel like the kitchen is theirs, too, with these kid-friendly kitchen tips.
Kid-Friendly Kitchen Suggestions
• Countertops: Select countertops with rounded edges to protect little hands and heads.
• Pull-out counters: Pull-out counters can be set at varying heights making them safer and more user-friendly for kids.
• style=”white-space:pre” mce_style=”white-space:pre”> Lock it up: Doors and cabinets that are accessible by children should have locks installed to keep out curious kids.
• Outlet covers: Installing covers on electrical outlets keep little fingers from exploring.
• Timing is everything: Electric hot water limiters set a temperature limit (not to exceed 120 °F) to prevent burns. Timing devices and wall switches can also be installed for controlling appliances.
• Designated drawers and/or open shelving: Keeping the kids’ snacks and safe utensils in a dedicated space—either their own drawer or an area of open shelving—helps prevent kids from exploring where they shouldn’t.
• Step up: Step stools can be installed in the cabinet toe-kick area for your little kitchen helpers. A less permanent solution is available with slip-resistant portable step stools. (Not recommended for toddlers, but great for the older, budding kitchen-istas.)
• Illuminating: Lowered (kid-height) light switches and motion sensors on switches are a great solution to keep kids from crawling up on chairs or countertops.
• Underfoot: Kid-friendly considerations for your flooring include “cleanability”, slip resistance and durability.
• Cool ideas: Keep kids out of the refrigerator by installing a refrigerated drawer in the island for milk and snacks that require refrigeration. When it’s time to pick out a new refrigerator altogether, select one with ice and water dispensers on the door so kids have easy access.
New Kid-friendly Kitchen Construction
If you’re planning a new construction project implementing kid-friendly kitchen features is even easier. Consider these suggestions:
• Directing traffic: Consider the traffic patterns and flow in your new kitchen. Allow sufficient space for traffic flow that won’t interfere with the “work triangle”.
• Give me space: Create space for the kids to play and interact while mom and dad cook and prepare snacks.
• Storage solutions: Add a cubby for the kids to keep their toys and books. Are you installing a window? Try adding a 30” window seat to create additional storage for toys and books.
• A little lower: Lower bar heights to table heights (30”).
• Make your island a paradise: Plan an island with a raised countertop for adults to work on, and a lower second tier opposite of the stove/oven for the kids. (A cook top is not recommended for this type of island.)
• Save on bandages: Installing soft-close drawers and cabinet doors helps prevent slammed fingers.
• Countertops: Non-porous surfaces like quartz won’t stain, are durable, and show less wear-and-tear over time.
• Location, location, location: Instead of placing your microwave above the range install it in your island; specifically, a microwave drawer designed for the island.
• Appliance options: Ask about “cold to touch” appliances that help prevent burns on exploring hands and fingers. Choose appliances that have safety locks integrated into the design. If you are selecting a cook top, consider an induction cook top that requires connection with a pot to produce heat.
Other Kid-Friendly Kitchen Tips
• Cleaning products: Check the labels on cleansers and make sure that you keep those with toxic chemicals in a secure area. Maintain cleaning products in areas away from kids, up high if possible. Install safety locks on cabinets where chemicals are kept. Inner cabinet locks are available and help avoid damage to the cabinet face.
• Putting out fires: Keep a fire extinguisher handy, but away from the stove.
• Knife safety: It seems like common sense but it bears repeating—keep knives out of reach of little hands!
• Be watchful: Supervise children when working in the kitchen. Explain how important it is to be cautious, and teach kids how to properly use kitchen equipment.
• You know what they say about cleanliness: Wash your hands—and their little ones—frequently. Keep surfaces clean, and clean as you go during a project to prevent contamination.
• Easy cleanup solutions: Slipcovers for barstools not only let you clean up messes more easily, they also make updating your décor a snap.
• Get creative: Foster their creativity in the kitchen by designated a special area for their artwork, or installing a corkboard or chalkboard on the fridge or at the end of the island.