Kitchen Safety Rules


This safety page includes, kitchen safety rules, food sanitation and printable checklists to keep in your kitchen while teaching your kids to cook.
safety rules in the kitchen

Planned Kids Cooking Curriculum



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Child Kitchen Safety Rules

  • No sharp knives for small children. Keep them out of reach and out of sight.

  • Teach children that the stove is hot! Even when turned off, it should not be touched or played around.

  • Make sure all handles on pots and pans are turned inward.

  • Cook hot soup or hot food on a back burner if possible.

  • Teach children about proper sanitation of foods. Use clean hands. When done cooking, wash hands again. Clean counter tops and dishes well after cooking, to prevent contamination of foods. Always clean items that were in contact with raw meats and eggs immediately after using.

  • No licking mixing spoon or fingers -sample when it is done cooking.

  • Always turn off the stove top and oven when done.

  • Keep appliances away from water.

  • Don't put cooked food on a plate or surface that had raw foods on it.

  • Put ingredients back after using. (Makes clean up easier also)

  • Always use supervision.

  • Give a kitchen tour of what is safe and not safe. Tell them what is not to be touched and any other advice for your kitchen.

  • Read through any recipe you are using. Double check you have all ingredients available.

  • When your child is old enough to use the oven, make sure they review the oven safety rules as well.
golden starDownload our Kitchen Safety Rules Chart and hang it in the kitchen for a quick reminder. (you will need Adobe Reader to open.)
kitchen safety chart

Rules of the Kitchen for Parents

Patience. There will be spills and the finished product might look unappealing but relax and realize the learning that is happening with your child. Making a mess or spilling is going to happen and if we lose patience, they will be fearful of not doing it "right."

Praise. Help their self esteem by praising a job well done!

Kitchen Safety and Food Sanitation

Now that we've had an overview of kitchen safety don't forget about food sanitation. Here are some tips to teach your kids:
  • Store foods either hot or cold. The bacteria that causes food poisoning grows quickest when it is warm.

  • Don't handle food when you are sick.

  • Wear an apron and wash it often, as well as any dishtowels used while cooking.

  • Keep your hair and yourself clean (nobody wants a dirty cook in the kitchen!)

  • When washing your hands always use soap and warm water. Scrub your hands for at least one full minute.

  • Keep raw food away from cooked food. Never reuse a plate or dish that was holding raw food. Clean the dish thoroughly.

  • Wipe up spills while you are cooking. It makes clean up easier when you clean as you go.

  • Cover up any cuts or open sores you may have with a bandage.

  • Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness.

  • Clean and wash thoroughly, dishes and utensils that were used during cooking.

  • Salmonella bacteria can be prevented by cooking food thoroughly (always check with a meat thermometer!) and store leftovers quickly in the fridge.
golden starDownload our Food Sanitation Chart and hang it in the kitchen for a quick reminder. (you will need Adobe Reader to open.)
food sanitation chart

Food Sanitation and Food Safety Video




Make teaching easier with our activities and recipes compiled in one easy to read format.


Kitchen Safety Rules Checklist

Here are some things to keep in mind when you cook with your kids:

 Always supervise young children and older children who are still inexperienced in the kitchen.

Don't leave knives, breakable items and other potential dangers within reach of young children. They can use a butter knife to cut soft items.

Always operate the oven or stove yourself; don't let young children do it. Keep toddlers and preschoolers a safe distance away when you open the oven.

Have a fire extinguisher on hand. Teach your kids how to stop, drop and roll in case they catch fire (they should know this anyway, whether they cook or not).

Use safety tools, such as kitchen gloves, and an apron, to protect skin and clothing. Also, wear short sleeves or roll long sleeves up securely.

Learn and teach kitchen food sanitation rules.

kitchen safety picture

Kitchen Safety Lesson Plans

See these pages on ideas to add kitchen safety within our cooking lessons.
*In our Teacher Curriculum Set we go more in-depth on safety in the kitchen.

Kitchen Safety for Kids Video


10 Kitchen Safety Tips

Here are 10 tips to follow to ensure their safety in this activity:
kitchen safety
  1. Ensure that there's adult supervision all the time.
    Even as an adult, you know that all it takes is a second for you to get into a kitchen accident. This is why you have to make sure that you have eyes on the kids all the time while they're in the kitchen. Make sure that you know what they're doing and that you can see that they're doing it right. The supervising adult will also ensure that the kids are following the rest of the safety tips in this article.

    As an additional note, make sure that you let the kids know that they need permission from an adult before they start working in the kitchen. This way, they're not going to start working in the kitchen without an adult's approval and guidance.


  2. Teach the kids the importance of washing their hands.
    This is very basic. Germs are all over the kitchen even if you clean it all the time. This shouldn't discourage you from letting your kids work in the kitchen. You just should make sure that they wash their hands before, during and after working in the kitchen.

    If they resist, just tell them the germs that they're touching and that if they want to eat food that have these germs in it. That should encourage them to wash their hands.

    You should also teach them about cross-contamination especially when dealing with raw chicken and food in general.

  3. Unless they're old and skilled enough, don't let them use knives by themselves.
    There are a lot of things that kids can do in the kitchen. Using knives, unless they're old and skilled enough, should be left to an adult. The adults should do the slicing, cutting and chopping. To keep the kids engaged, you can let them watch. Of course, you should reiterate the importance of not playing with knives.

    You can teach your kids how to use knives safely. You can start them young. You can start by using those plastic knives that are used by restaurants for to-go orders. There are also plastic knives that are kid-friendly. Just make sure that you provide guidance.

    When they're old and skilled enough, that's when they can start using real knives. Of course, still with your guidance.

    There's really no specific age when you can say that it's safe for them to handle knives. You can't say that they can handle knives when they're 7, 8 or 15 years old. When they're ready, they're ready, and only you can tell. Of course, the more practice they have, the earlier they can be ready.
  4. See our lesson on knife safety here.

  5. Place pots and pans on top of the stove in such a way that the handle is facing away.
    This can help avoid accidents. If the handle is facing outwards towards you and the kids, you or the kids can easily bump into the handle and this can lead to a disaster. Kids may also be tempted to grab the handle.


  6. Clean as you go.
    This is more of a tip for the adults. By cleaning as you go, you'll lessen the chance of an accident in the kitchen. If you spilled liquid on the floor, clean it up immediately so that the kids won't slip.

    By cleaning as you go, you will also make the kitchen more organized. This can lead to a safer kitchen. For example, by cleaning and storing the knives properly after use, you'll lessen the chance of kids accidentally grabbing the sharp knives.


  7. Establish a rule wherein they should ask first before they taste something.
    Kids have this tendency to taste anything and everything. Untrained kids will lick anything off of their fingers or spoons that they've been using while prepping meals. You should establish and enforce a rule wherein they should ask you first if they want to lick or taste something. The last thing you'd want is for them to get salmonella.


  8. Don't play with fire.
    This one's obvious. They shouldn't play with fire and this includes the oven, stove, matches and the likes. Adults should be the ones to control the fire in the kitchen until they're old enough to understand the. Not paying sufficient attention while cooking starts an unfortunate amount of fires in the home.


  9. Always use a pot holder.
    Things can get hot in the kitchen. Ensure that kids always use a pot holder when handling hot pots and pans.
    In addition, enforce a rule wherein they should ask if they want to grab something.


  10. Educate them about the appliances.
    These appliances are electrical in nature so kids shouldn't play with them. Teach them things like don't touch the appliances when their hands are wet, keep the appliances away from water, and the likes.
  11. Tips on teaching kids to use appliances here.

  12. Eliminate all distractions.
    The kitchen should be a smartphone-free zone. You can't afford to have a distracted kid just because he's looking at his phone every 5 seconds in between cutting vegetables. Take out all distractions that also include the TV.

Set a Good Example

Your kids will follow your lead. This means that you should also practice these safety tips in the kitchen. These safety tips when cooking with kids may not mean much to you as an experienced adult, but your kids may pick up bad habits that can jeopardize their safety. Set a good example and they will emulate it.

In our Teacher's Curriculum Set we dive more into kitchen safety, food contamination and spreading germs.

Kitchen Safety Posters and More

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