This safety page includes, kitchen safety rules, food sanitation and
printable checklists to keep in your kitchen while teaching your
kids to cook.
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
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
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
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.
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.
Download our Food Sanitation Chartand hang it in the kitchen for a quick reminder. (you will need
Adobe Reader to open.)
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:
supervise young children and older children who are still
inexperienced in the kitchen.
leave knives, breakable items and other potential dangers within
reach of young children. They can use a butter knife to cut soft
operate the oven or stove yourself; don't let young children do it.
Keep toddlers and preschoolers a safe distance away when you open
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).
safety tools, such as kitchen gloves, and an apron, to protect skin
and clothing. Also, wear short sleeves or roll long sleeves up
Here are 10 tips to follow to ensure their safety
in this activity:
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.