U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Keeping Your Kitchen Safe

Children may find it fun to help you in the kitchen. To keep it fun, you also need to keep it safe. Following are some tips on how to keep your children safe in the kitchen.

Prevent Burns

  • Teach your children that the stove is hot. Even when it is turned off, children should not play with it.
  • Remember to always turn off the stove or oven when done using it.
  • Before cooking, roll up sleeves. Loose-fitting clothing can catch on fire. When touching or moving anything hot, wear oven mitts.
  • Turn all handles on pots and pans inward so they are not hanging over the edge for little hands to grab.
  • Cook hot soups and other foods on the back burners, if possible.
  • Food cooked in a microwave can become extremely hot. Wear oven mitts and be careful moving food from the microwave to the counter and taking off the lid.
  • Keep hot foods and dishes away from the edge of the countertop so small children can't reach them.
  • If clothing catches on fire, immediately do the following:  stop, drop (to the ground), and roll (the flames out).

Food Safety/Sanitation

  • Teach children about proper sanitation methods, such as hand washing before, during, and after cooking. Clean countertops and dishes with soap and water after handling raw meats to prevent contamination of foods.
  • Immediately clean countertops, cutting boards, knives, and other items that have been in contact with raw meat or eggs.
  • Don't put cooked food on a plate or surface that previously had raw meat; wash utensils and brushes immediately after touching raw meat.
  • Resist the urge to lick fingers and spoons until the food is completely cooked.
  • Cook foods to a safe temperature; test the internal temperature with a food thermometer.
    (See Rules for Safe Cooking.)

Other Safety Tips

  • Be careful with kitchen knives. Make sure they're always sharp, and always supervise children using them.
  • Keep electrical appliances away from water; unplug them when not in use.
  • Put ingredients back after using them to prevent clutter and make cleanup easier.
  • Always supervise younger children in the kitchen.
  • Work with your older children first to teach them the rules of safe cooking. Then, take a step back and see what they can do!

Keep the Beat is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.