The kitchen is without a doubt one of the most important rooms in your house. It tends to be one of the busiest rooms and will be utilised throughout the day. When you need a quick snack before work at the start of the day or when you are entertaining guests or making the perfect family dinner, it will become the focal point of activity and preparation. If you have young children in your house, it can also be one of the most dangerous rooms, with hot surfaces, sharp cooking utensils, and water all present in this space. Here are some top design tips to ensure that your kitchen is a safe space for children.
Does my kitchen require a few changes or a complete re-design?
A good starting point is to determine whether your kitchen just needs a few minor changes to make it safer for children or if it needs a complete overhaul. The age and condition of your kitchen is also a factor in this decision. If your kitchen is showing real signs of age and you have young children in the house, it can make good sense to completely renovate and re-design this space to ensure that it is as safe as possible and with an upgraded design that suits your style considerations.
If you are going to opt for a complete overhaul, there are many companies that offer bespoke designs and can work with you to help you create your dream kitchen with child safety as a priority. Kitchen companies st albans offer you a truly personal service when you opt for a bespoke kitchen giving you complete freedom on your new unit design and location. A bespoke service can also offer you the option of simply purchasing the bespoke units you require (if you are competent with DIY and are happy to install the units yourself) or a complete installation if you would rather leave this part of the job to the professionals.
Think about the flow of traffic through and around your kitchen
Another huge consideration that will affect the design and layout of your new kitchen is how people will move through this space. A lot depends on who lives in the house when you consider this factor. If you have a family with young children, safety is of utmost importance, and you will want to keep cooking units and hot surfaces back from the main passageways through the kitchen. This will reduce the risk of young children bumping into pans and accidentally knocking over cooking equipment.
In terms of actual measurements, paths through the kitchen should be at least thirty-six inches wide. This should be increased to a minimum of forty-two inches in the cooking areas if you plan to do most of the cooking on your own or forty-eight inches if you plan to cook regularly with your partner.
Consider the “working triangle”
When it comes to meal preparation in your new kitchen, ideally you want to limit the overall movements and distances you must travel to prep your food, cook it and clean up afterward. A well-thought-out kitchen allows you to limit moving from place to place as you cook and clean. This theory is commonly known as “the working triangle” and has been a main part of kitchen design for over 90 years! It states that the placement of the cooking surfaces, sink, and refrigerator should all be close together to limit constant movement as you prepare your food. It is a simple rule, but it allows you to work more efficiently in your kitchen and will save you time every time you cook. While cooking can undoubtedly be an enjoyable activity, increasing the time and effort needed to prepare a meal makes no sense.
In terms of child safety when adopting the “working triangle” principle, a lot depends on the age of your children. If they are at a suitable age to help with cooking safely, then appliances such as microwaves should be within easy reach but also at a suitable height for younger hands. Conversely, if your children are of a younger age and not ready to help at mealtime, then appliances and units should be out of reach.
Always consider “the working triangle” from the outset of your design plans for your new kitchen. It will become a key factor in determining the layout of your most-used kitchen appliances and will also shape the passageways through your kitchen. Remember, a well-designed kitchen is also a safe and efficient kitchen!
Locate your cleaning products in safe spaces
One prime concern is the location of cleaning products, especially those with harmful chemicals. Dishwasher tablets, bleaches, and other common kitchen cleaning products pose a distinct danger to young children as most are highly toxic. These should be located well out of reach, high up in your Kitchen and/or in locked kitchen units that are childproof.
Another option is to switch out some or all of the toxic cleaning products and replace them with nontoxic eco-friendly products. As well as making your kitchen safer, this will also be of considerable benefit to the environment.
Use baby gates to seal off routes into your Kitchen
If your family includes very young children and/or babies, you may want to consider stopping their movement into the kitchen completely for absolute peace of mind. Galley-style kitchen designs make this a lot more achievable, but it is worth knowing that there are a wide range of baby gates available to assist you should you choose to look into this option.