It would be horrid watching your child suffer the pain of a burn or other home accident that you could have prevented with a little forethought and planning.
The kitchen layout can help to make it a safer place. The open plan with island bench that is currently very popular is not ideal. Better to avoid the potential for little people to be under your feet and best to avert the excellent game of running circles around the island! One access into the kitchen is much easier to control.
Have you tried a line up of toys s/he has not seen for awhile from one side of the family room to the kitchen? Hopefully by placing the baby on the far side of the room, you can achieve plenty in the kitchen while s/he makes his/her way towards the kitchen to be with you…. as they always want to do.
Once having reached the entrance to the kitchen and wanting to be on your hip, more distraction is possible with a low drawer of plastics or non-damageable items. Little one will soon learn that THAT drawer is okay for play. In fact by placing a surprise toy or treat they may be encourage to investigate there regularly thus delaying them further.
A safe design preference is for the oven in a wall tower. This allows for effortless movement of hot and often heavy items and therefore less potential stress on the cook’s back, but advantages of the hot oven at a safer height away from babies. It also provides a designated place at convenient height for microwave oven. By placing ovens and cook tops away from the opening into the kitchen, the likelihood of toddlers being in danger of hurting themselves with these appliances in operation is greatly minimised.
“UP” is the word for a short while when toddlers are in the home, ensuring chemicals, china, glass &/or heavy items are stored above the tallest reach of the littlie. Explaining the consequences to small children, of handling with poisons and playing with knives, will help to educate.
Small thoughtful daily habits are invaluable: ensuring doors are closed fully, knives and other items are safely away from edge of benches, informing older children that the oven is on therefore hot, cook top is alight, the floor is slippery etc will all assist in ensuring a happy, healthy life.
These measures do not last forever. As a child grows so too their understanding of the dangers, house rules and expectations on them for maintaining peace of mind and the safe household.
Margot Kirke is a qualified architectural drafts person with a passion for practical living, making the best use of space and use of natural light and warmth.