Kitchens are typically a home’s chief gathering spot—a place to cook, eat, watch TV, pay bills, and entertain. But when assembling a kitchen remodeling wish list, it can be easy to put aesthetics and function on the front burner and move safety to the back.
Yet, with all of the tools and cooking equipment located in a kitchen, the potential for accidents—burns, fires, slips, falls, cuts, and more — is there. There’s also the rise of multi-generational families, where young children and the elderly share the same space, which is spurring interest in making the room safe for people of all ages and abilities.
The following are four ideas to help prevent accidents, and design a kitchen for safety:
Cooking fires are the No. 1 cause of home fires, accounting for more than 150,000 home fires in 2010, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). To help prevent them:
Falls account for 8.9 million visits yearly to hospital emergency rooms,according to the National Safety Council. Help prevent them in the kitchen:
Numerous stores and websites offer products that can pare accidents. Examples: Knife blocks have slots for safe storage, so you don’t reach into a drawer and potentially get cut. Also, Kidsmartliving.com recommends plastic dishes so children won’t break dishes and glasses. Adequate lighting is also essential to perform tasks safely. Allan Grant prefers LEDs, now available in many color renditions, for their longevity and energy-efficiency.
Extra planning to arrange cabinetry, counters, and appliances can make a kitchen safer. David Newton, kitchen designer and trainer for the National Kitchen & Bath Association, recommends having enough cabinetry to store small appliances so they don’t clutter counters, which may lead to accidents; planning for sufficient “landing” counters by burners to avoid carrying hot food and drinks; installing pull-out shelves and drawers for cabinetry to help you avoid searching deep into corners and straining backs; and planning for at least 48-inch aisles for two adults to pass safely.
Bottom line: Advance planning can make a big difference in safely enjoying your newly remodeled kitchen!
[Featured Image: Kitchen Design: Karen Swanson, New England Design Works, Manchester, MA; Photo: Evan White]