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Children love spending time cooking and baking and even the fussiest of eaters will normally try out food they've cooked themselves.
Finding activities to keep your children entertained on rainy days and in school holidays can feel like a daunting task but you don't have to spend lots of money on expensive days out - just step into your kitchen.
Actress Fay Ripley has joined forces with The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT), 'It's brilliant to involve children in cooking. It's great fun and you can teach them all about food nutrition and safety. The key thing is to do it when you have enough time.....When you've got a spare half an hour, that is the time to get cooking, all put on aprons and make it an event.'
Recent hospital data shows that one in ten children's accidents happen in the kitchen* and nearly 800 children under 12 were admitted to hospital last year with burns or scalds from hot drinks, food, fats and cooking oils. So it's vital that parents use their time in the kitchen with their children to teach important safety lessons and keep little chefs safe from harm.
From around the age of five there are little jobs children can start learning to do under supervision in the kitchen. And as children grow and develop life skills, they can get more involved in everyday kitchen tasks. This helps them build confidence and skills whilst learning about the dangers too.
Kids Cooking Safety Tips♦ If using any hot appliances, such as a kettle or oven, make sure children understand how this can be dangerous and keep young children at a distance
♦ Show older children how to use an oven glove when taking anything out of the oven and how to put it down safely on a heatproof surface
♦ Pick a recipe that is easy to follow and doesn't have too many ingredients so that you can focus on supervising your child and not reading through the recipe - this also helps to keep it fun
♦ Before you get started, allocate tasks to children which are right for their age and ability, for example buttering a cake tin, sifting flour or cracking eggs
♦ Supervise and show children how to use kitchen equipment safely, i.e. when grating vegetables or whisking eggs
♦ Always supervise children when they are using knives or other potentially hazardous utensils
Here's an easy recipe to get you started:
Child Friendly Apple Crumble
CAPT has the following general tips and advice for children's safety in the kitchen
♦ Keep young children away from hot appliances like ovens, toasters and kettles
♦ When you are cooking, always use the rings at the back of the cooker and turn pan handles towards the back. This way they can't be grabbed or knocked over by active children of any age
♦ Push your kettle to the back of the worktop and choose one with short or curled flex so that it can't be pulled off the top
♦ Keep knives and scissors in a high drawer which is out of reach
♦ Keep cleaning products high up and out of sight and reach and, for low cupboards, fit safety catches
♦ Use cleaning products which contain a bittering agent to stop children swallowing them
♦ Cut up finger food into small pieces as young children can easily choke on food which is difficult to chew or too big
♦ Make sure children sit down to eat as they can choke if they run around while eating
♦ Use a five point harness in your child's high chair and be careful where you place it in case they can reach appliances or drawers
♦ Don't hold your child and a hot drink at the same time and don't pass hot things over children's heads
♦ When you are cooking it's safer to keep young children out of the kitchen if it's possible, for example by fitting a safety gate across the kitchen doorway
♦ Make sure you have a working smoke alarm and check it every week
For children from around the age of five:
♦ Teach children simple tasks like buttering and cutting bread with a round-ended knife
♦ They are not safe to handle sharper implements like bread knives until they are older, so keep them out of reach
♦ Teach children how to use items like scissors but make sure you supervise them and keep the scissors out of reach at other times
From around the age of seven:
♦ Teach children how to tackle simple tasks safely, like making a hot drink or simple meal but supervise them when they're doing this
♦ Never allow a child to use a chip pan, even under supervision. If you use a chip pan yourself don't leave it unattended or fill it more than one third full
♦ Once your child reaches seven you may want to start teaching them how to light matches safely under your supervision - this can make matches less fascinating
♦ Show children this age how to use knives and scissors safely under supervision, but don't let them use sharp knives
♦ Make sure children know not to run with sharp things in their hands
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