A kitchen is where the magic happens. It’s where memorable meals are cooked and birthday cakes are baked and decorated, one sprinkle at a time. But your kitchen can also be home to danger. More than 67,000 children experience a kitchen accident each year. Common culprits are knives, choking hazards, heat, and heavy objects. To preserve the joy of your kitchen, be proactive about finding potential risks.

Remember the saying, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.” It’s important to really examine your kitchen, even getting on your hands & knees to check for things you might not otherwise notice. Put yourself in the mindset of a curious toddler.

Be Sharp. Knives should be in a drawer with a childproof latch. The same goes for forks, scissors, and any other sharp tools. Store glass objects and appliances with sharp blades out of reach. Tip: don’t underestimate a child’s reach.

Choking Hazards are everywhere in your home. Take the time to really look for small objects and keep them out of reach. For example, are your refrigerator magnets easy to grab? Are there loose cords? How easy is it to grab garbage or other plastic bags?

Beat the Heat. Stoves are a common source of danger. But did you know that children are more often burned by hot liquids—not fire. When cooking, place all pots on the back burners whenever possible, and turn the pot handles inward so they don’t extend past the edges of the stove top. There are also stove locks that can be placed on the stove knobs that work similarly to childproof latches.

Bottles. All vitamin and medicine bottles should be tightly closed and stored in high cabinets. Alcohol should be locked and inaccessible. Cleaning solutions, detergents, and spray cans should not be kept under the sink while there are kids in the house. It is especially important that all of these items are out of sight.

A lot of hazards can be mitigated by childproof latches, but you can’t rely on them for everything. One strategy to make your kitchen safe is to start at one end and work your way across—top to bottom—for a thorough review of potential hazards.

Here are a few more kitchen safety tips. Be sure to share with family members.

  • Immediately clean up spills from floors and countertops.
  • When not in use, appliances should be put away and unplugged with the cords out of reach.
  • Check the positions on stepstools and chairs; make sure these can’t serve as ladders to stoves and countertops.

And stop me if you've heard this one before: do not use a fork to retrieve toast out of a toaster!