GUEST POST: Creating your family-friendly kitchen
This article was kindly put together by Ryan Hirst, who writes great content for UK-based kitchen fittings specialists Eurofit Direct
In times gone by, the kitchen was a room used to prepare family meals, half the size of one in the modern era. Now the kitchen has transformed; it is not only a room for cooking but also a living space, with many family hours being spent within it. Some are even open-plan, making the living room and kitchen one complete area.
With things such as entertaining and relaxing enjoyed in the kitchen now, it is very easy to forget how hazardous this room can be. Today I’ll give you some great tips for creating your family-friendly kitchen.
The kitchen can be a very dangerous place, especially when children are going to be in and around it for many hours of the day. There are so many appliances that can be dangerous to your children -and even yourself if you’re not careful – such as the oven, the kettle and even the toaster. Your children will not always be aware of the dangers that could occur in the kitchen so it is vital that you educate them from a very young age about the importance of safety.
Ensure your kitchen is child-proof
Your kitchen needs to be a functional place as well as being aesthetically pleasing, and for many of us it needs to be family-friendly too. The layout is a hugely important part of this; think about how you are going to protect your children from hot and dangerous appliance In times gone by it was apparent that your kitchen would have doors leading to and from it, whereas today many are open plan.
This is one reason why an island could be a good idea for your kitchen. Think about traffic flow in the kitchen area. An island is one way of ensuring your “roundabout”, if you like. Children will be encouraged to walk closer to the island as it acts as a barrier. An island also allows your children to sit at one side of it while you prepare and cook food on the other, without you having to worry about what they are doing. The last thing you want to happen is for one of your children to knock over a hot pan or walk into you while carrying one. Another key point to installing an island: think about the height. You are unlikely to want your children having to climb high stools to sit at it.
How many times over the years can you remember one of your children, or you, trapping fingers in a drawer? I would say probably more than you can count on your fingers and toes! I would advise you to think about protecting your fingers when opening and shutting drawers and cabinets. An easy way to do so is by adding soft closing stays and soft closing dampers; these mechanisms provide protection from your cabinets and drawers being slammed shut.
The appliances you choose
There are so many different appliances with the potential to cause harm to your family. One great family-friendly appliance I like is the induction hob. The hob doesn’t have a flame, which obviously reduces the likelihood of a fire. You can also purchase induction hobs with child locks.
In addition, although this isn’t an appliance as such it is definitely worth mentioning. Think about having refrigerator drawers installed. You can store plenty of refreshing drinks and snacks in them and your children can help themselves without you worrying about them opening the main fridge. Carrot sticks and oranges are healthy options.
Warming drawers are another smart alternative for your kitchen if you are not comfortable with your children using microwave ovens. The purpose of this appliance is to store food that needs to be kept warm. This is a great little idea if your children regularly take part in after-school activities and you constantly have to warm their food up.
Making your kitchen family-friendly starts with you
Installing these nice appliances and thinking about the layout of your kitchen is the first step, but no matter what you do the buck stops with you. As the homeowner you need to set the standard for everybody else to work with.
If you are the one who is going to be preparing meals in your kitchen, then you should first and foremost create a list of rules that everybody – including yourself – needs to stick to. Applying standards for the whole family and guests is the perfect way of ensuring a family-friendly kitchen.