Keeping Mealtime Safe

By: Symantha Inman

The dangers of hot liquids

More than half of burn hospitalizations are caused by scald burns. Scalds are burns from hot water or liquids. Children under the age of five suffer 83 per cent of all scald injuries requiring hospital admission.


Keep your child away from hot liquids.
Spilled tea, coffee, soup and hot tap water are the leading causes of this painful and potentially serious injury.


Reduce the hot water temperature in your home.

Hot tap water could seriously burn your child. Tap water causes nearly a third of scald burns requiring hospitalization. Set the maximum temperature of your water taps at 49 °C or 120 °F. Read the manual for your water heater before changing the setting on the thermostat dial. If you do not have a manual, contact the company that made the water heater.


Keep your child safely out of the way when you are cooking.
In a matter of seconds hot liquids could fall on your child and burn them badly. Put your baby or toddler in a high chair or playpen to keep them from being burned or scalded by hot liquids. Make sure preschoolers stay seated at the kitchen table, or out of the way, while you are cooking. You could also use a safety gate to keep your children out of the kitchen when cooking. Cooking on the back burners and turning the pot handles towards the centre of the stove, prevents your child from being able to reach the pots. A stove guard can also be installed around the stove to prevent your child from reaching pots and to protect them from the splatter of hot liquids like cooking oil.


Use a cup with a tight-fitting lid, like a travel cup, for hot drinks.

Keep cords from your kettle and other appliances out of your child's reach.
Your child could pull at the cords of the kettle hanging over the edge of the counter and scald themselves with the hot water from the kettle.


safety tips to prevent your child from choking

Keep nuts, carrot sticks or chunks, popcorn and hot dogs away from children until they are at least three years old.
The most common causes of choking for young children are nuts, raw carrot sticks or chunks and other hard fruits and vegetables, popcorn kernels and hot dogs. Nuts, carrot sticks or chunks, popcorn, seeds and other hard, crunchy foods should be kept away from children until they are three years old. If you are serving a hot dog to your child, make sure to slice it lengthwise. Vegetables should be pureed or finely chopped.


Keep raw pear, apple and celery away from children under three. Young children do not have the teeth required to grind food down to a small, safe size.
Some of the products that we use regularly and take for granted, can seriously harm a child.


Experts offer the following suggestions to help prevent choking on food among infants and toddlers:

-Teach your child to sit quietly while eating and to thoroughly chew and swallow food.

-Do not let your youngster play, run or ride in a car with food, gum or candy in the mouth.

-Carefully inspect food labels for information about choking risks.

-Do not feed young children foods that are hard and smooth that could easily get stuck in a windpipe. Examples include foods with nuts, seeds, small pits or popcorn.

-Soft foods that could choke a child should be cut into very small pieces. Examples include raw fruits and vegetables, cheese and hot dogs.

Food Safety

Food safety is an important part of mealtimes with young children. Help the

children learn and practice good table manners, and handle food safely. Focus on

these four main areas of concern to reduce risk.


1. Wash hands and use good table manners.

Children need to wash their hands before each meal or snack. Help children

remember to eat from their own plate, not another child’s plate.


2. Serve meals when children are seated.

Children need to be seated when eating. Walking around while eating or

drinking is not safe. A child can choke on foods and liquids, even those foods

that do not normally pose a choking risk. Be observant during mealtime and

help children enjoy mealtime in a relaxed manner. Children need to eat slowly

enough to chew well and swallow with ease.


3. Serve family style meals the safe way.

Some benefits of family style service come from sharing a meal and talking

with adults. Some states’ sanitation laws require that an adult sit with the

children during family style meal service. Even if your state does not require

adults at the table, it is a best

practice for child care.


Follow food safety and sanitation

practices closely to make sure that the

food is handled right and is safe to eat.

Know local sanitation rules for serving