Five Tips for Making your Modern Kitchen Renovation Child Safe

April 15, 2014

When renovating your kitchen it is important to consider the younger ones in your family if you have children. In Australia around 14,000 children under five years of age are admitted to hospital each year with kitchen related injuries in Australia. This is a sobering statistic that means when you are designing your kitchen you need to be practical yet stylish and consider child-friendly options.

Here are our 5 tips to consider when you are planning your renovation:

Kitchen renovation and children safety
  1. Appliances
  • If you have an under the bench oven ensure that it has a minimum of triple glazed door that is cool to touch.
  •  Ensure you have the oven and sink and bench tops in close proximity to minimize the carrying of hot dishes and to prevent scalding. Always remember your work triangle
  •  Position electrical outlets close to the bench surface where appliances are
  •  Explore a new technology, like induction cooking. “With induction, no heat is generated unless there’s a pot on the burner. It’s the pan that gets hot, then, not the cooking surface, so when the pan comes off, the burner is cool.
  •  Refrigerator drawers (or mini fridges) are also great for your kid-friendly kitchen zone. It means your youngster can help him or herself to a drink after school or play without opening the main refrigerator. You can also store healthy snacks like carrot sticks and have them on hand for your child.
  •  Putting a microwave at the end of the island keeps the child out of your workflow, creating a safer kitchen environment for your young one.
2.  Think about safety Kitchen renovation and children safety
  • The more people using the kitchen, the more opportunities there are for something to go wrong.
  •  If you have a toddler, view the room from their perspective. Sit on the floor of your present kitchen and survey the scene. You’ll probably see cabinets and drawers begging to be explored, sharp corners and lots of tools and objects that might look interesting to a curious child.
  •  At a minimum, you want to make sure things like cleaning supplies, knives and small appliances are out of reach or in cabinets that lock, and that any unused electrical outlets are covered.
  •  If you are thinking of child proof locks for cabinet doors keep in mind that as your toddlers grow up, you will want to easily deactivate these locks, thus be sure to make an allowance for this.
  •  Shallow base cabinets make it easy for your kids to reach their cups, glasses and plates without having to climb on a countertop to get items from a wall cabinet, or interrupt your dinner prep.
3. Look at your Space kitchen renovation and children safety
  • The most family-friendly kitchens have a place for kids to work on homework, craft projects or just play without getting in Mom or Dad’s way. How much space this requires depends on several factors: the age of your children, the number of children and others using the room on a daily basis, and the activities that take place? A family with preschoolers has very different needs than one that has teenagers.
  •  Younger children most likely need a play space while teens need a computer. The bottom line is that there are no hard-and-fast rules for the amount of space that should be devoted to these various activities. If your children don’t do their homework in the kitchen, there’s really no reason to allocate space to that function.
  •  A homework station could be an oversize dining table with electrical outlets nearby for powering laptops, or it could be a complete desk that matches your kitchen cabinetry set off in its own corner.
  •  A play space could be as simple as a toy-filled drawer just above the kickboard, or it could be a corner cabinet fitted with shelves for craft supplies, books and playthings.
  • When planning a desk or homework area, make sure there is plenty of surface for spreading out books and papers, and don’t ignore the wires.  The last thing you want is a cord stretching across the room.
  •  A message centre is crucial in a family hub. It could be as simple as hanging a chalkboard near the door, but most families need a way to handle all of the school papers, notices and mail that tend to pile up on counters. Maybe install a cabinet fitted with a plate rack and designating each section to a different family member. Place a corkboard below for important reminders and notes. You can even hide the corkboard on the inside of a cabinet door.
  •  Kitchen islands can make great kid-friendly zones, as they tend to have at least one end that's not in your work zone, and they can be planned with your particular family's needs in mind.
  •  The back of this island leaves plenty of space for older or taller children to pull up a counter stool and enjoy a healthy after-school snack. Counter-height seating won't work well for smaller kids who can't — or shouldn't — climb up, or for wheelchair users.
  •  If you’re renovating, pay particular attention to the materials you select. Always round the corners on countertops. Also consider counter heights as standard heights may be too tall for a child to reach without a stool. To avoid creating an environment where kids have to climb to reach everything, consider working in a seating area centered on a table rather than a counter.
4. Keep it Clean Kitchen renovation and children safety
  • Think about upkeep.
  •  Stainless steel may have a nice, modern look, but it’s a chore to maintain, especially when you have lots of little hands touching it. Avoid using natural stones like granite or marble in highly trafficked family spaces because they stain too easily.
  •  Bench tops should be made of solid surface or quartz.
  •  Cabinet finishes should not be too shiny. A cabinet with a glossy sheen is definitely scrubbable, but it will show everything—you’ll be scrubbing it often.  Consider  semi-gloss, which has a more muted look.
  •   Choosing durable materials that are easy to maintain and won’t easily scratch.
5. What Happens In your kitchen Kitchen renovation and children safety
  • Know how your family plans to use the space, think about how these activities—a seating area for watching television, a craft corner for the kids, plus preparing and serving food—will work together in the space, and how individual areas or zones should interact. For example, cooking and food-prep areas are sacred space. “The cook or cooks should be able to move from refrigerator to stove to sink without having to step over toys or move piles of paper out of the way,”
  •   If your kids like to cook, design an area that’s sized so they can help. May be a lowered section of counter or a low shelf that pulls out from an island. Make sure there’s a drawer or cabinet nearby to hold their supplies.
  •  Island seating or a kid zone where it won't interfere with someone working at the range, wall ovens or main kitchen sink.
  When you have children there are some extra things to consider when renovatiing your kitchen. Have a good week.   Talk soon.....

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