10 Tips for child safety planning in the kitchen
The prospect of children in the kitchen adds another dimension to the kitchen design process. The designers at Beau-Port Kitchens in Hampshire have been designing and installing kitchen for over 20 years and understand what needs to be considered and included in a safe child friendly kitchen without impacting on their stylish, practical, designs.
Identifying needs, imagination and innovation are all key to good kitchen design. The same rule applies when designing a safe family kitchen environment with toddlers, small children or teenagers in mind. Their needs and yours may be different but the basic rules still apply, its just the choices you make that will make the difference.
1.Size up the space you have available and decide how you can include a child zone and where you will locate it. In the case of small children this may mean a small play area or television area, for an older child it might mean space for an arts and crafts area or a place to do homework and use the latest technology.
2.Get down to their level, for small children sit on the floor and see the kitchen through their eyes. Think about the appeal of draws and cupboards in their sight line. A teenager will probably require access to the fridge and somewhere to complete their work with out getting in the way when cooking and other tasks are being undertaken. A backdoor into the kitchen, sinks and work tops that over look the garden are great when it comes to keeping an eye on young children playing outside.
3.Provide a drawer for the children and or teenagers to keep their toys, books and equipment in, a chalk board is great for family messages. Handle less drawers and cupboards are less appealing and more of a challenge for smaller children and there are lots of child locks on the market that can fit neatly and discretely inside any design to prevent easy opening.
4. Stainless steel fridges and freezers may look fabulous but not if they are covered with grubby finger marks. The same can be said for high gloss kitchen furniture. It may be wipe clean but who wants to spend their time buffing away the everyday mess children make. A more practical option is an integrated fridge and freezer in semi gloss, textured or mat finish that won't show up the finger prints as easily. Pops of colour in the kitchen keep it looking fresh, bright and vibrant.
5.Rounded edges and corners on work tops are a good alternative to sharp angles and can be created in most materials: including wood, granite and quartz which is hard wearing, durable and low maintenance. An island is perfect for entertaining and creating a work or craft space for older and younger children. The raised height means it can easily accommodate a high chair without the tray or a children's chair which adapts as the child grows. Multi levels on island are great if a child wants to help with cooking and baking for example. as the lower level can be more accessible to a child.
6.Tiled floors can be cold, hard and slippery underfoot if wet or polished. Karndean has over 200 colours, design and effects to choose from, meaning its easy to fake it with flooring that's low maintenance, hard wearing, warmer and less slippery. Inspired by the natural beauty of wood, stone and tiles, Karndean flooring is an easy choice to make that won't break the bank.
8.Eye level ovens are inaccessible to small children, invest in appliances, ovens and hobs that include child locks, shop around as most manufactures have some appliance with child safety features.
9. Alternatively there are cooker, hob and knob guards on the market which have been created to protect inquisitive little fingers. Siemens have a range of appliances that include child locks and cool glass doors and cook tops on ovens and hobs. An adaptable play pen or room divider with a walk through gate can be secured around a range cooker or AGA. Ideal when hot, giving extra peace of mind and safety when preventing a child from opening the oven doors.
10 Install a retractable baby gate to the kitchen doorway to keep children and pets at bay when you don't want them in the kitchen.