Safety in the Kitchen - Part of Everyday Living

A kitchen with white cabinets and stainless steel appliances.

Kitchen safety is as elementary as baking a cake. However, if either is neglected it can turn into a major problem.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association has 40 Guidelines for kitchen planning, which stress safety in the planning and design of the kitchen space.

Remodeling and Design Guidelines

In remodeling or designing a kitchen, there are certain aspects of design that must be followed, such as installing ground fault circuit interrupters on all receptacles within the kitchen. A fire extinguisher should also be visibly located in the kitchen, away from cooking equipment and 15 to 48 inches above the floor so that someone could grab it without being in danger.

One mistake many people make is putting the fire extinguisher on the back of the cooktop or in a hard to reach place. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 60,000 fires take place annually when food ignites on ranges and no one is there to extinguish the fire. Someone calls the fire department an average of every nine minutes to report a range-related cooking fire.

The cooktop or cooking surface in the kitchen should not be placed below an operable window unless the window is three inches or more behind the appliance. Curtains and other window coverings could easily catch fire if the cooktop was left unattended or a grease splatter occurred. If windows are behind a cooking surface, they should not be dressed with flammable window treatments.


Another safety issue in the kitchen concerns children. Make sure that pot and pan handles are turned inward so that curious little ones don't pull them off the stove. Putting child-proof latches and hooks on all kitchen cupboards, especially ones that hold cleaning fluids and chemicals, is vitally important.

Try not to place candy or cookies over top of ranges. This will reduce the attraction of kids who would think nothing of climbing on the cooking surface to receive their afternoon snack.

By following some of these simple guidelines, your kitchen can be a safe and relaxing place for both you and your family!

Reprinted with permission by the National Kitchen and Bath Association