This is a guest post from Charlotte Wenham, Executive Director, pNeo LLC, April 2, 2019
Kitchens are magnets for toddlers. They’re full of enticing sights, sounds, smells and people involved in fun activities. Naturally, curiosity creates an overwhelming desire to investigate and participate. Babies and toddlers don’t seem to have a sense of danger. This false sense of security (probably developed when mom was ever-present and their inability to walk meant their exploration of the world was better controlled), makes them particularly susceptible to accidents and injuries. Kitchens are a cornucopia of perils. There are sharp objects that can cut or puncture, hot things that can burn, slippery surfaces, hard surfaces to fall against or on, objects that tip over, things that break, cords, straps and wires to get entangled in. Sometimes the kitchen feels more like a war zone than a fun zone. As your toddler finds their feet, it’s harder for you to keep a watchful eye on them 24/7. Moments of distraction for both them and you mean their exposure to injury risk is dramatically increased. According to the World Health Organization*, injuries are the leading cause of death for children after their first birthday. The kitchen probably has the highest potential for injury and accidents.
Having read that, your knee-jerk reaction may be to keep your baby or toddler out of the kitchen. But we don’t just gather in our kitchens for food, we interact with each other and engage with conversations, debates, and practical activities like cooking and crafts. It’s important to provideopportunities to interact with your children. Interacting with others is how babies and toddlers learn more about the world, about themselves and gain important new skills, such as sharing, cooperation, and respect for others. So, before making your kitchen out of bounds, perhaps the best thing to do is toddler-proof it and make it a safe place for everyone. So how do you do that?
First, sit on the floor in your kitchen and make note of everything you can see or reach. Viewing thedangers from your toddler’s perspective will give you better insight into what may be accessible that can hurt them. Make a note of sharp corners and edges, cupboards that can be opened, cords that can be reached, and trip hazards like damaged flooring or unsecured rugs. Take note of garbage cans or other items like step stools, floor standing lamps or other furniture that may be used by the toddler to get to a standing position. Take the appropriate measures to secure them or make them toddler resistant. Things like putting child proof locks and latches on cupboards, covers on knobs to the stove that the toddler can reach (or remove entirely for the time being). Keep your floors clean and free from greasy residue. Remove rugs or mats or make them skid proof with the non-slip rug gripping material. Examine your blinds. If your blinds are the kind with cords, fold the cord back on itself to an out-of-reach level and secure them with ties so they can’t be tugged or pulled and don’t present a strangulation hazard.For better piece of mind, use a safety gate to bock off the kitchen and only give access to the toddler for the time you can be present in there with them.
Once the kitchen environment is secure, how do you create a space within it where you can safely and comfortably interact? One of the most popular and practical ways to do this is through an education tower or stability platform. These specially designed towers are a high-tech alternative and improvement on a step stool. They bring toddlers and little kids up to counter height, protect them from falling with a safety rail type surround, keep them safe while standing within them and enable you to control where the child can help, cook, play, do crafts, eat or chat. The better designs like the True Tot Tower are height adjustable and grow with your child – giving years of use and value. They can also be folded flat and stored out of sight when not in use (ensuring they do not become a potential hazard themselves). They support your child’s journey to true independence by enabling them to do activities safely such as washing dishes or mixing ingredients in bowls, washing their hands of their own, looking themselves at the mirror and much more.
They facilitate interaction with family members who would normally find it difficult to support or hold a toddle while engaging them in activities like an older sibling, grandparents or a disabled parent. They allow a toddler the chance to see their world from another perspective by bringing objects into their eye one that they wouldn’t normally see.
My final piece of advice is not to fear the kitchen. Take the appropriate steps to make it as safe as possible and create a serviceable, inviting and secure play space. By taking the right precautions and equipping yourself appropriately, you can involve your child in your daily life, and this will pay dividends in their growth and development.
*World Health Organization. Violence and Injury Prevention, 2009. Retrieved from
About the author:
Charlotte Wenham is the co-founder of pNeo, a Dallas-based brand accelerator. pNeo’s grass roots arein product design and consulting. By bridging the gap between products and consumers, pNeo has a solid reputation for high quality, innovative products that serve a real-world purpose. Charlotte has amaster’s degree in nursing and her professional life began as an ER nurse, working in the busiest ER in Australia. She has channeled this experience into to making each day better for her community and this guides her decisions. pNeo specializes in juvenile and consumer healthcare products, drawing on theteam’s real-world understanding as parents and healthcare professionals. Charlotte’s passion and drivespills over to her personal life. She actively seeks new experiences and ideas. To this end, you will frequently find her immersed in a book, or challenging herself by jumping out of planes.
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Hi, my name is Asha. I am 31-years-old and am a nurse by profession. My husband and I have been married for over five years and together we have a sweet four-year-old daughter, a one-year-old son, and a lovable bunny named Caramel. I enjoy spending time with family, taking photographs, scrapbooking, hunting, fishing, cooking and gardening.
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