By Kara Morris
23, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The whole family — even the youngest members — can participate in Thanksgiving food prep hours by following a few safety tips.
The nation’s leading pediatric organization offers some holiday tips for families with young children.
“There’s a lot of excitement and fun surrounding meal prep this time of year, but it can also be stressful,” said Dr. Dina DiMaggio, a fellow with the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“Be mindful of how you can involve the children in the process and consider assigning an adult to watch over the little ones when the kitchen is at full capacity. By planning ahead, families can help ensure the day goes smoothly for everyone,” she said in an academy press release.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Start teaching kids how to stay safe while cooking by teaching them to hold kitchen utensils safely, DiMaggio suggests. You can do this with specific knives that are safe for children.
- Show them how oven mitts can protect hands from the heat, as well as how to safely turn appliances on and off. Tell them the importance of keeping flammable items away from open flames.
- However, always supervise children when cooking to ensure that they follow the rules.
- Follow food safety guidelines, including washing raw vegetables and fruits, and cooking food thoroughly. Make sure young children wash their hands well after touching raw foods, too. Model good behavior by washing your hands frequently.
- Make sure the food does not contain raw eggs or other ingredients that need to be cooked before offering your little helper a bait. Wash the spoon before returning to the food.
- The AAP suggests storing raw foods in the refrigerator separately from cooked foods to prevent the spread of bacteria. Always thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the counter top.
- Keep everyone safe from burns by placing hot food and liquid away from the edges of counters and tables. Make sure that small children do not have access to microwave ovens. Turn pot handles toward the side or back of the burner.
- Find your baby before walking in hot liquid, to make sure you don’t stumble and hurt both of you. Don’t drink hot liquids while your baby is on your lap, the AAP recommends.
- Foods that require refrigeration should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Clean up promptly after a meal to avoid an accident in which the child may be at risk of choking or coming into contact with alcohol or tobacco.
Foodsafety.gov offers other Thanksgiving safety tips.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics news release, November 15, 2022