Renovating your kitchen, there are some important choices to make. While you're thinking about sink fixtures and floorplans, you should also be thinking about childproofing. Whether you are a parent of young children, an involved grandparent, or regularly host the kids of friends and family; childproofing a kitchen is essential for friendly family fun.
While many childproofing efforts can be applied after the kitchen is built (ex: cabinet latches and high shelves), you can also build your kitchen to be safer around small children from the ground up.
At Edesia, we've helped to build hundreds of family kitchens and have more than a few insights on what works best when there are active little ones both playing nearby and doing their best to help.
Choose a Glossier Paint
The first and best tip we can give is glossy paint. You want a durable paint that doesn't peel and can be really scrubbed. Semi-gloss and glossy paint finishes care more durable if you need to take a sponge to some spills. So prioritize shinier, more scrubbable paints both for your kitchen cabinets and for any exposed drywall in your kitchen design.
Install Climbing-Proof Cabinet Hardware
Cabinet hardware is a serious consideration when you're childproofing a kitchen. You might pre-install cabinet latches that make it harder for little ones to get in, and you might want some extra-durable cabinet hinges so that a little swinging doesn't end in disaster. But most importantly, you want drawer pulls and cabinet handles that do not become hand-and-foot holds for little climbers.
We suggest smooth, rounded pulls that slope downward instead of sturdy, toe-tempting loops.
Soften the Corners on Everything
When little ones are careening around your kitchen, the choice you'll find yourself praising the most is rounded corners. Choose soft edges on your countertops and add rounded molding to the edges of your cabinets. Children sometimes rough-house or run around the kitchen, even when they're not supposed to. Rounded corners help to make sure that even if they bump into something - like the oh-so-dangerous corner of a countertop, that little heads and elbows will be safe from any real harm.
Raise Up Appliances and Control Panels
Keep appliance controls out of reach. You don't have to put your appliances on the ceiling, simply make sure that controls cannot be reached by any child too short to boil their own water for mac-n-cheese. Once a child reaches about seven or eight years old, they can be taught to safely use the stove, and clever control-panel placement can keep them out of trouble before this age and its associated growth spurt.
Mount your oven in the wall so that it can't be opened or turned on by little ones. Then choose a stove with controls near the backsplash instead of at the front so toddlers can't turn on the burners before they can learn how to use them.
Create a Round-About Pathway
If you are rebuilding your cabinetry or even just your island, consider a round-about design. Children need paths in and out of the kitchen when they are energetic, and they are easier to shoo out of your space if there's not a dead-end in your kitchen. A round-about design allows children to flow into and out of your work area without stopping. This can be great fun in an empty kitchen, and easier to clear distracting company from your kitchen (of any age) when you're busy cooking.
Add Helper Seating and Surfaces
Lastly, give your children somewhere they can sit and help out. A little bench on a side wall can be a lovely place for spectators. A breakfast nook or safely climbable bar seating can provide your children a place to sit and talk while you cook, and perhaps help out with little tasks when they want to join in the meal preparation with you. Children love to be included and will stay out of trouble if you give them a place to be and helpful things to do.
Design a Delightfully Childproof Kitchen with Edesia
At Edesia Kitchen & Bath Studio, we love to help you personalize a family home. Work with us to create a design that is both your dream-kitchen and also safe for your little ones to play and help. Contact us to explore designs for your next kitchen renovation that will make your kitchen more inviting for the whole family.