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Meal time

Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, meal times are a great time to bond with kids... Especially once you’ve explained for the 15th time why the spaghetti hoops belong in their bowl, not in their hair!

However, as fun as meal times can be, accidents can happen – some with devastating consequences. That’s why it’s important we take some simple steps to make sure our little ones are safe.


Your kitchen

Of all the rooms in our homes, our kitchens contain the most obvious set of dangers. Sharp things. Electric things. Hot things. Poisonous things. Spiky things. With a list like that, it’s all the more important we take extra care in the kitchen, especially when children are around:

"I didn't want to take any chances as I had heard about how toxic liquid laundry capsules could be, so I took Eva to hospital where she was kept in intensive care overnight.”

Juliet, mum to Eva.
  • Keep dangerous medicines and cleaning products high up, out of reach and, ideally, locked away.
  • Liquid laundry capsules are bright, squidgy and can, to a toddler, look just like sweets. Sadly however, inquisitive youngsters have needed medical attention after swallowing or biting them. There’s also the risk of serious eye injuries if they pop in a child’s eye. Keep them out of sight, high up or preferably locked away.
  • You don’t need locks on all your kitchen cupboards but, unless you’re sure they can’t be reached, things like liquid laundry capsules, chemicals and medicines should be locked away.
  • Knives can be deadly – keep them out of reach at all times, ideally in a locked drawer.

As every multi-tasking parent knows, trying to prepare a meal when there are little children around can be a serious challenge. However, there are bigger risks than a burnt dinner – small children can be seriously hurt while you’re distracted. Follow these tips to reduce the risk:

  • Try to keep children out of the kitchen while cooking as they can easily burn themselves on hot surfaces like oven doors.
  • Use the back rings of cookers and turn pan handles away so they are not sticking out over the edge.
  • Use a cordless kettle or one with a coiled lead so that children aren’t tempted to pull on it.
  • 5-8% of children in the UK have a food allergy. Be sure to check ingredients labels for hidden allergens, such as sesame in hummus, nuts in cooking oil or milk in gravy mixes.
  • Prevent cross contamination that could make both you and your little one sick. Clean work surfaces and equipment thoroughly to remove traces of anything you might have previously cooked.

Let’s eat!

Sitting round the table for a meal is often the highlight of our day. However, it’s still important that we take steps to make sure small children are safe from risks such as choking or burns:

  • Always supervise babies and young children when they’re eating – it only takes a second for them to choke
  • A bad scald from a hot drink can be devastating - leading to lengthy medical treatment and leaving scars that last a lifetime. Never hold a hot drink and a baby at the same time. Keep hot cups of tea or coffee out of reach and away from the edge of tables, especially low coffee tables, to prevent them being pulled over on to a child.
  • Insist children sit to eat and drink, and not lie down, walk or run.
  • To avoid choking, cut small foods like tomatoes, grapes and blackberries into quarters and ensure sausages are cut into very small pieces. Think twice before offering very young children hard, slippery or sticky foods.
  • Babies should be strapped in their highchair so they can’t wriggle down or fall out.


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