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By Cara Murez
Health Day Reporter
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The whole family — even the youngest members — can participate in Thanksgiving meal prep lessons by following a few safety tips.
The nation’s leading organization for pediatrics offers some vacation tips for families with young children.
“There’s a lot of excitement and joy in preparing meals at this time of year, but it can also be stressful,” said Dr. Dina DiMaggio, member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“Think about how you can involve children in the process and consider hiring an adult to look after the youngest ones when the kitchen is at full capacity. By planning ahead, families can help make the day go 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 how to hold kitchen utensils safely, DiMaggio suggests. You can do this with special childproof knives.
- Show them how to use oven mitts to protect hands from heat and how to safely turn appliances on and off. Explain to them the importance of keeping flammable objects away from open flames.
- Still, supervise children while cooking to make sure they follow the rules.
- Follow food safety guidelines, including washing raw vegetables and fruits and cooking food thoroughly. Make sure that even the little ones wash their hands thoroughly after touching raw food. Show good manners by washing your hands frequently.
- Make sure a food doesn’t contain raw eggs or other ingredients that should be cooked before offering your little helper a taste. Wash the spoon before putting it back into the food.
- Store raw foods separately from cooked foods in the refrigerator to prevent the spread of bacteria, the AAP suggests. Always thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the countertop.
- Protect everyone from burns by keeping hot food and liquids well away from the edges of counters and tables. Make sure that small children cannot reach microwave ovens. Rotate pot handles to side or back of cooker.
- Find your child before you leave with hot liquid to make sure you don’t trip and injure both of you. Avoid drinking hot liquids while your child is on your lap, the AAP recommends.
- Food that needs to be refrigerated should not be kept at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Clean up immediately after eating to avoid an accident where a child could find a choking hazard or come into contact with alcohol or tobacco.
Foodsafety.gov has more Thanksgiving safety tips.
SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics, press release, November 15, 2022