DietParentingWeaningEating issuesWellbeingFeedingNutritionToddler

You naturally want to keep your little one safe. You may have bought monitors, gates and guards to help.

I don't know about you but my health visitor told me lots about safety of the cords on my kitchen window blinds and how having a hot drink near a baby was a bad idea, but further safety tips weren't given for food. I know this varies according to when you had your baby, where and who looked after you but this article seeks to give a little more information about safety when it comes to food and your kitchen.

Safety in the kitchen

1) Always supervise your child in the kitchen.
2) Watch out for oven doors, kettles and toasters which are hot to touch.
3) Keep cords of electrical items tidy and out of reach.
4) Consider a lock for your cupboards - or put a gate on the kitchen.
5) Keep your bin in a cupboard or out of the way of little hands. What is it with bins? Toddlers love them!
6) Keep work surfaces clear so they don't get hold of knives etc.
7) Keep pan handles facing in - preferably use the back rings on the hob.
8) Avoid wearing a sling on the front when cooking - baby is close to knives and heat.
9) If using a high chair, opt for one with a 5 point harness (over the shoulders too) and keep your child supervised.
10) Use child appropriate utensils and crockery.

Food hygiene

1) Store food according to the label.
2) Stick to use by dates (best before are different - use discretion for these).
3) If you are batch cooking, cool the food within 90 minutes and get it into the fridge or freezer.
4) Reheat pre-prepared food thoroughly and then allow it to cool to a baby safe temperature.
5) Check your fridge and freezer are at the right temperature. 5 degrees C or below for a fridge, minus 18 for a freezer.
6) Keep pets out of the kitchen.
7) If you are going out and about, don't keep foods you would normally store in the fridge out for more than 90 minutes.
8) Avoid putting food in the changing bag - food and nappies don't mix!
9) Cook food thoroughly - raw seafood, partially or raw eggs which don't have the 'Lion' or the 'Laid in Britain'. mark on them, and unpasteurised milk or soft cheeses should be avoided by little ones.
10) If your child doesn't finish their food, don't put it back in the fridge for another day if it has been touched. If using a jar of food, take out a portion so a dirty spoon hasn't been in the portion you keep for the next day.

Food safety

1) Avoid foods which contain added salt or added sugar.
2) Give nuts as pieces, ground or in butter form (no added salt or sugar) - avoid whole nuts until the age of 5.
3) Avoid popcorn until they are competent eaters.
4) Cut foods long and thin - eg sausage, carrot sticks, grapes.
5) Avoid round foods like cherry tomatoes or blueberries - cut them up before giving them instead.
5) Avoid hard foods like raw carrot or apple until they are competent eaters.
6) Only give breast or infant formula to babies under 1. After that give whole cow's milk or plant milks until 2 and semi skimmed cow's milk or plant milk until they are 5 (after this they can have skimmed). Rice milk should not be given as a drink until your child is 5.
7) Avoid foods marketed to adults eg cholesterol lowering products.
8) Avoid shark, swordfish or marlin - not common foods I know!
9) Give oily fish (it's a great source of omega 3) but limit to 2 servings a week.
10) Do not give honey to under 1s.

And remember, you cannot plan for everything. Increasing parent anxiety is never good so if you want to talk this through, please get in touch.

This is not an exhaustive list but helps give you some ideas of what to think about when it comes to the kitchen.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

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