A bustling kitchen is part of Thanksgiving Day’s chaotic charm. However, amid all the fun and fellowship, children are often susceptible to cooking-related injuries and choking hazards.
During the holiday, burns and choking injuries are commonly seen in the Emergency Department at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, said Thomas Abramo, M.D., director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine.
“Children are naturally inquisitive,” he said. “Parents need to be cognizant of all hot foods and liquids, and make sure that they are well out of reach.”
In addition, says Abramo, parents should be aware of preventive choking measures, as well as procedures to implement during a choking incident. Below is a list of choking prevention safety tips.
Avoid giving children under the age of 4 hard, smooth foods such as peanuts and raw vegetables that must be chewed with a grinding motion.
Avoid giving your child round, firm foods such as hot dogs or carrot sticks unless they are chopped completely. Cut food into bite-sized pieces and encourage your child to chew thoroughly.
Always supervise mealtime for your infant or young child, and never allow them to roam freely while eating.
Other risks to children include food poisoning from undercooked turkeys, which should always be cooked at a minimum temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and should have an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Below are a few simple steps that, if followed, will help ensure a safe Thanksgiving for children:
Never leave food unattended on a stove.
Whenever possible, cook on a back burner. Avoid letting pot handles stick out.
When cooking, wear clothes that fit properly and do not have long, loose-fitting sleeves.
Keep cooking surfaces free from clutter. Items that can burn should be at least three feet from the stove.
Avoid picking up anything hot while holding a baby.
Keep children away from the stove when you are cooking. Put tape on the floor to help children learn to stay out of the “no-child-zone.”
Keep all hot foods and drinks away from the edge of tables and counters. Do not use tablecloths or placemats because young children can pull them down.
Find safe ways for your children to help, such as washing vegetables.
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