While being a parent is the most rewarding experience adults can ever experience, sometimes it can be quite tough, especially for parents who have one or more children with disabilities. Sadly, many children with physical disabilities have accidents in the community or at home, although most of these accidents could have been prevented.
Statistics and Facts
In England alone, there are over 9.4 million disabled people. Even though the prevalence rate of disability increases with age, there are still 1 in 20 children who suffer from a physical disability. (http://www.efds.co.uk/resources/facts_and_statistics). In other European countries, USA and Canada, the statistics are same roughly 1 out of 20 children have a disability. Whether it’s sight, mobility or hearing, these children have special needs and have to be protected.
The Importance of Child Safety
Children with disabilities are more likely to experience accidents, especially in the kitchen area, which is the most dangerous one. With the number of children with special needs on the rise, the need for child safety is greater than ever before.
As a parent, you need to start “child-proofing” your home, and especially your kitchen. In order to discover how to take care of your children properly, it is important to determine what type of physical disability your children have.
Types of Physical Disabilities:
- Sight: if your child has sight difficulties, you need to place certain tactile indicators in your home.
- Hearing: children who have hearing problems need to be warned visually.
- Mobility: children with mobility issues should have an intercom attached to their wheelchair and should have easy access to the nearest exit.
Developing Children Safety Habits
The first step in protecting your children from potential hazards in the kitchen is to develop long-term children safety habits. Here are some things you can do.
- Be a good role model: never play with fire in front of your children or do something that might threaten your life. Children will always copy your behavior. Remember to act scared when you are in potential danger in order to make your children be scared of any potential danger.
- Talk to them: Kindly talk to your children and try to make them realize the potential dangers they expose to if they do things in the kitchen they are not allowed to do. This includes cooking, ingesting cleaning products or chemicals, using electric blankets or cutting vegetables or fruits using a sharp knife.
- Eat together: eating together strengthens your relationships as a family and makes your children more obedient to you. In addition to spending time eating together, you should get children involved in planning meals and cooking together.
The main Dangers in the kitchen
Each of the above three categories of children with disabilities is exposing themselves to certain dangers. We’ll look at each one of these dangers in particular.
Sight Difficulties: children with sight difficulties can accidentally cut with knives or can hurt themselves by touching rough edges of the furniture or kitchen cabinets. Additionally, they won’t be able to notice the fire alarm if it goes off and might have difficulties in finding the exit route. To top it all, if your child has sight difficulties, he might hurt himself if touching certain appliances that are not turned off.
Other dangers for children with sight difficulties include a greasy filter, dirty sponges, molds and bad storage habits in the refrigerator
Hearing Difficulties: children with hearing difficulties will not hear the smoke alarm and might not hear the water boiling on the stove.
Mobility: children with reduced mobility might find it quite difficult to exit the kitchen in case of an accident, a fire or a malfunction. Additionally, they might touch rough edges of furniture and might have difficulties moving in a tight space.
Child-Proofing your kitchen
Now we will talk about practical aspects of child-proofing your kitchen and making it a safe place for your precious children. Here’s what you need to do in order to gain the peace of mind that your children are safe from accidents and that never bad will ever happen to them while cooking, eating or playing in the kitchen.
- Sight Disability: In case your children have sight disabilities, her eyes what you can do to child proof your kitchen:
- Remove any heavy mirrors or pictures that hang on the kitchen walls, along with other harmful objects or appliances such as knives, frying pans or pots.
- Add a smoke alarm and put a highly coloured sticker on it in order to make sure your children notice it. Additionally, make sure it rings very loud so that they can hear it.
- To ensure that appliances are switched off properly. Fit plastic blisters to all of your appliances.
- Check electrical leads in order to ensure they are not faulty.
- Consider placing a tactile indicator along the escape route in order to help your children find the exit with ease in case of an accident.
All dangerous items should be put away immediately. For instances, always put away the food processor or the blender once you’ve cleaned them. Knives and sharp objects should never be left on the table. Additionally, the kitchen floor should be kept free of clutter and should be thoroughly cleaned in order to ensure your children will not slip on it.
- Hearing issues
If your children have hearing issues, you need to ensure that the smoking alarm has plenty of light signals and vibrating pads. Additionally, make sure all gas valves feature shut-off valves. Install shut-off valves right beside your stove to ensure your child will never be able to turn the gas on, either accidentally or by will.
For children with reduced mobility, It is imperative to design a corridor-style kitchen and install additional handrails along the sides of the corridor. Here are the main types of kitchens you can have: http://www.livingmadeeasy.org.uk/scenario.php?csid=336#b
Cover your radiators, lock any dangerous rooms and remove any gates or objects that are blocking the exit. For kids with reduced mobility, who either use a wheelchair or a stick, make sure that appliances and other type of kitchen furniture are not stored on top shelves, but on the wall or inside a cupboard. Your children’s attempt to reach something on the top shelf might prove to be disastrous.
In case of mobility issues, you should strive to capitalize on the universal design trend in your kitchen. Click here to read more about this trend. https://www.ncsu.edu/project/design-projects/sites/cud/content/UD_intro.html
Kitchen Safety Rules for Children
Review venting system for flaws. Guarantee all joint and pipe connections are snug. Check air intakes and ventilation systems to certify passages are unobstructed. Check control settings. Test operating controls. Test safety controls. Comprehensively examine heating structure and report any issues. Examine and clean the boiler heat exchanger. Inspect all boiler wirings and boiler connections. Check water PH levels. Examine and clean condensate system. Check and clean burner assembly. Power flush system for optimum performance. Check for correct boiler operation once the boiler has been cleaned and examined.
- Lastly, here are some ground rules to teach your children when it comes to spending time in the kitchen:
- Never touch the stove, nor use a knife unless in the presence of an adult.
- Do not touch the pot or the pan while on the heater.
- Do not touch the microwave oven, the dishwasher, the blender or the food processor when active.
- Do not try to dispose of the garbage unattended.
- Do not use cleaning supplies, especially if they contain dangerous chemicals.
- Do not run around in the kitchen. Even with smooth edges of the kitchen furniture, your children might still get hurt if not careful.