How to baby proof your kitchen

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
April 11, 2023
Baby Chef holding bell pepper

The kitchen is one of the most dangerous areas of the house. Just about every item you use to prepare food is unsafe for your young child.

Come with me as we explore all the dangers hiding around your kitchen and the simple steps required for you to baby proof your kitchen.

Develop child-safe kitchen habits

Now that you have a young child in your house, you will have to adjust your kitchen habits in order to accommodate your little one’s safety.

  • Do not leave anything hanging over the edge of cabinets. Towels, electrical cords, panhandles, anything. These can be pulled on by your child, bringing everything tumbling down on top of your baby.
  • Watch where you leave hot beverages.

Be very mindful of where you leave that hot cup of tea or coffee to cool. A curious child can easily knock it over, resulting in serious scalding. Also, never carry your child in one arm and a hot drink in the other, it’s a recipe for disaster.

  • Return objects to cabinets as soon as you have finished using them. Sharp objects such as knives or breakable objects such as glass or china can cause serious injury if left within easy reach.
  • Do not leave appliances plugged in. As soon as you are finished worth that toaster or blender, unplug it and put it away.
  • Be mindful of kitchen items you leave to dry. Do not leave knives, glass, or china to dry by the side of the sink, dry it with a towel and store it safely away.

Baby-proof your stove top

When cooking, get in the habit of using the rear hot plates. Your little one will be unable to reach the rear hot plates, greatly reducing the chances of serious burns.

If you do need to use the front hot plates on the cooktop, be sure to turn pot and panhandle so they face inwards. This will prevent your child from grabbing the handles and being able to pull them down.

The simplest way to baby proof a stove is to remove the stove knobs. Most stove knobs are easily removable. Many simply pull straight off while others may require the removal of a single screw.

Hide the knobs until you need to use the stove, then simply replace them as needed. don’t forget to remove the knobs once more when you are done.

Some of you may not like the idea of having loose stove knobs laying around, as it is mildly infuriating if they go missing and you need to use the stove. For those of you silently nodding along as you read that last sentence, you can use stove knob covers to prevent your child from fiddling with the knobs.

Baby-proof stove knob covers

  • Colors: As pictured.
  • Clear design
  • Universal size
  • Reusable

Cleaning supplies

While I am on the topic of cleaning, take a look at the cleaning supplies you keep on hand in the kitchen. Detergents, pesticides and any other toxic household chemicals should either be locked up or placed well out of your child’s reach.

You could also consider switching from harsh chemicals such as chlorine and ammonia to safer products. These products are not only highly poisonous if consumed but the fumes given off can also harm your baby.

Vinegar, borax, beeswax, mineral oil, nonchlorine bleach, and compressed air drain cleaners have all been proven to be efficient, safe cleaning products.

Reducing harsh chemical use in the home has even been linked to lessening the chance of asthma in developing in young children. You have nothing to lose.

Baby-proof your dishwasher

Kelly Sikkema PMxoh8zJNb0 Unsplash

It is amazing how much more washing up needs to be done with a single the addition of your new family member. While your dishwasher will greatly cut down the time you spend cleaning up, it places all manner of dangerous objects within easy reach of your baby, should they open the door.

Dish soap, dirty knives, glass, china, and cutlery. You just don’t want your child playing with it. Get into a habit of loading knives and sharp objects so that they point downward. This way your child will not be able to grab the sharp end.

Never pour dishwasher detergent or powder into the dishwasher until you are ready to begin a washing cycle. Most dishwashing detergent is poisonous if ingested. The sweet smell may lure your child into putting the detergent into his or her mouth.

You can secure the dishwasher door with multipurpose straps. You will be noticing a pattern with my baby proofing guides. These straps get mentioned often. They are just so functional. They can stop your child lifting toilet lid or even stop your child from opening the fridge door.

While the straps won’t prevent your child from playing with the knobs, they will stop access to all the dishwashers dangerous contents.

Multi-purpose strap Lock

  • Colors: as pictured
  • Special adhesive that doesn't harm furniture
  • Flexible straps
  • Easy to install

IMPORTANT: Before you apply any adhesive mounted latch, be sure to clean the surface where you are going to mount the strap lock with alcohol. This will ensure adhesive forms a firm grip and you will have the most success possible with this style of lock.

Baby-proof your microwave

The microwave was basically designed to attract your baby’s attention. Buttons that beep when pressed. The inside spins around. It is more fun than many other baby toys I have seen on the market.

Jokes aside, you will want to prevent your little one from placing items in the microwave and cooking them. The multipurpose latches that I mentioned just above are perfect for securing the microwave door from your little one’s curious hands.

You can deter your child from playing with the microwave buttons by mounting the microwave as far back on the bench top as possible.

Baby touch a microwave
Image Source: Flickr

Secure cabinets doors and drawers

In the kitchen, the most dangerous things for children hide behind cabinet doors and drawers. Knives, cleaning products, garbage bins. You don’t want your little one playing with any of these.

Due to the high importance of keeping these pieces of furniture baby proofed, I have written separate detailed guides on each.

Secure that trash can

Your trash can is like a treasure chest to your little baby. Open it up and all manner of unusual colors and shapes lay inside. The contents of a trash can are something you do not want anywhere near your child. Sharp tin cans and raw meat offcuts are just a few of the things that can be frequently found in garbage bins.

The easiest way to baby proof your trash can is to lock it away in a cabinet. Out of sight, out of mind. While this method is popular with many parents, some find it inconvenient to constantly have to open their cabinet doors just to access the trash can.

Your other option is to purchase a trash can with a latch. The latch will stop your curious child from opening up the trashcan, preventing the contents from becoming a dangerous play toy.

Trash can with latch

  • Colors: three options
  • Soft close lid
  • Lockable
  • 40 L capacity

Be mindful of plastic shopping bags

So you have just finished unpacking your monstrous shop to feed the entire family for the coming week. Depending on where you have shopped, you may have a bunch of plastic shopping bags left over.

Plastic shopping bags can easily end up over your baby’s head, quickly resulting in suffocation. If you are environmentally conscious and reuse the bags as bin liners, be mindful to store them out of your baby’s reach.

Also be mindful when unpacking the bags that none fall to the floor. This will require a conscious effort on your part as a plastic bag hitting the floor barely makes a sound.

Baby-proof your garbage disposal and trash compactor

If your garbage disposal is of the continuous feed variety then you will need to look for a way to prevent your child from playing with the operating switch.

The easiest way to prevent your child from playing with the garbage disposal is to lock up that switch. If your child can not switch the garbage disposal on, then no danger. It’s that simple.

If your house is equipped with a trash compactor, test to make sure that it won’t operate when the door is open. If it can, call the repairman immediately. If your trash compactor model requires a key to be turned on and off, make sure that the key is out of your child’s reach at all times.

If your garbage disposal unit uses a similar switch to a standard toggle light switch then you are in luck. Baby proofing your garbage disposal unit is as simple as buying a cheap, but effective switch guard.

Switch guard

  • Colors: as pictured
  • Easy install
  • Fits standard switches.
  • Hinders access to switch.

Make your fridge child safe

When looking to baby proof your fridge be mindful to:

  • Clean under the fridge (This can quickly build up with gunk that is easy for your child to grab).
  • If installed, secure the water and ice dispenser.
  • Use a latch to prevent your child from opening your fridge

If you require more information, I have written a detailed guide on how to baby proof your refrigerator.

The safest way to have your child cook with you

Now that you have done everything to make your kitchen safe for young children, you are ready for your little one to play chef. Cooking is a fun look and feels activity that you can share with your young child.

Now obviously I don’t mean arming your little one with a knife and telling him to get started on dicing vegetables. Simple recipes such as making bread are a great way to keep your child entertained and introduce them to the world of cooking.

Now the problem is your little one is much shorter the bench where you prepare food.

How do you keep your little one at the same height as the bench while providing as much freedom to move as possible? You can’t use a stool as the lack of sides means your child can easily fall to the ground below. Many parents use a purpose made child step.

A baby proof step provides your child with the freedom of unrestrained movement that all master chefs need while providing a safe and protected environment.

Learning Tower Step Stool

  • Colors: 7 options
  • Adjustable height
  • Easy to clean
  • Stable Footing

When looking for baby steps, try to avoid varieties that fold up to save space when not in use. While the space-saving feature is appealing, some stability must be sacrificed in order for this to be achieved.

And that brings me to the end of yet another baby proofing guide. I would love to hear how you keep your children safe around the kitchen. Let me know below.

Related Resources

Basic rules of kitchen safety

28 kitchen safety tips

Kids and the kitchen.

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