When I think of kitchen safety stories, my mind instantly wanders to a story of a friend of mine from when he was younger. His mom was cooking and left the kitchen for a few minutes only to return to her toddler (my friend) standing on the kitchen counter holding a butcher knife. You can imagine how she must have felt as a mother, inching slowly toward her young son to take the knife from him and mentally noting to never leave knives within reach again.

A baby in a blue onsie opening a lower cabinet drawer.A baby in a blue onsie opening a lower cabinet drawer.
We all have heard many kitchen safety tips as we’ve grown up. However, accidents and deaths happen every year because people forgot what to do.

My 10 kitchen safety tips listed below may be obvious, but they are the most important things to know when it comes to kitchen safety in your home.

  1. Never stick a fork or knife into a toaster to retrieve the food while it is plugged in. You can get electrocuted. Instead, unplug the toaster, wait for it to cool, and then flip it upside down to get the item out.
  2. Grease fires have to be put out with baking soda or salt. Pour water, flour or sugar on it and watch it blow like dynamite.
  3. Wearing loose clothing is the easiest way to set yourself ablaze in the kitchen. Roll up your sleeves and wear an apron if you don’t want to change clothes.
  4. Don’t use extension cords in the kitchen. This is an easy way to cause spills and electrical shock accidents.
  5. When boiling water or sauce, stir away from your body to prevent splashing onto your skin.
  6. Clean up spills immediately. Depending on the spill, they can catch on fire, create unnecessary smoke, or even cause you to slip and fall.
  7. Cut away from your body when using a knife. This is the easiest way to prevent accidentally stabbing yourself or slicing a finger. Also make sure to move slowly and carefully when carrying a knife in the kitchen to avoid injuring yourself or another.
  8. Cross-contamination can happen quickly. Wash your hands with warm soap and water often. An easy rule is to wash your hands between preparing different food items. Also, never use the same surfaces to cut veggies or fruit where you were handling raw meat. The best way to avoid E. coli is to designate certain cutting boards for raw meat and others for veggies.
  9. Supervise your kids and animals. Always. Keeping them out of your preparation and cooking zone will reduce risks of accidents and injury.
  10. Turn your gas range off when you’re done using it. If you smell gas when you shouldn’t, make sure all the burners are turned off, open your windows for ventilation, and call your gas company.

Whether you are cooking everyday meals or preparing for a holiday gathering, remember to keep these 10 helpful tips in mind.