If you like to cook, or even if you've never cooked before, kitchen safety is always important for you and everyone around you. Safety can mean always turning off the stove, washing your hands to prevent germs from spreading or getting help from an adult or friend with more cooking experience. This can prevent fires, sickness and injury.
Getting Started Cooking
- First of all, ask an adult if it's okay for you to cook. If they say no, ask if you can help them cook or if it will be possible for you to learn later.
- Get an apron if you don't want to get your clothes dirty, or put on an old shirt.
- If you have long hair, pull it back so it doesn't get in the food or catch fire from being near flames or high heat.
- Wipe down the counter space so your work area is clean. Wash any cutting boards or other supplies you may need.
- Wash cutting boards and containers with soap and water after they've touched raw meat, fish, poultry or eggs. These foods can contain dangerous bacteria if uncooked.
- Start by washing your hands with soap and water.
- Once you've picked a recipe, run it by an adult to see what parts you'll need help with and whether you have all the ingredients.
- Ask if the adult can stay nearby while you cook so they can help you out.
While You're Cooking
- Always wash your hands before you touch any food (kneading dough, shaping cookies, etc.).
- Wash your hands after you have touched raw eggs, meat or fish. These contain bacteria that could potentially be dangerous or make you sick! (They are OK once they're cooked.)
- Once you've taken raw meat, fish or eggs out of a container – don't put cooked food back in the container until you've cleaned it as the container can contain bacteria.
Knives and Other Sharp Kitchen Tools
Always ask a grown-up if it's okay to use a knife, grater or peeler. You could get cut if you're not careful.
If you're not allowed to use a knife, nicely ask an adult to do it for you. You should also practice using a knife a few times – if you're allowed to – to get the hang of it.
Always cut away from yourself, and keep your fingers clear of the blade. Don't get distracted and look away.
Using the Stove
You should also ask for permission to use the stove or oven. Use oven mitts for removing hot pans from the oven and potholders when you're holding a hot pot.
It's easy to get burned doing this, so you might want to ask a grown-up to do it for you or to supervise and give you instructions. Sometimes things are heavier or hotter than you think.
When you use the microwave, never put anything containing metal (including aluminum foil) in it – because of the way microwaves work, it can cause a fire. Always use microwave-safe containers. It usually says on the container whether it's microwave safe, but you can always ask an adult.
Blenders, food processors, and grinders are dangerous if they're used incorrectly. You should ask for help from an adult or permission to use it supervised even if you already know how it works.
If the pilot light (small gas flame) on your gas stove goes out, have a grown-up re-light it while you stand back and watch. It's easy to get burned or start a fire if you're not careful!
- Don't run in the kitchen – you could bump into something hot or slip.
- Clean up spills as soon as they hit the floor (unless you're removing something from the oven, stove, etc., but clean up as soon as you're finished) so someone doesn't slip. Then, wash your hands.
- Don't hesitate to ask for help – better safe than sorry!
Reviewed by: Jen Hawkins, RN
Last reviewed: August 2019