by Carla Murez
Health Day Reporter
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The whole family — even the youngest — can join in on Thanksgiving food prep time by following some safety tips.
America’s leading pediatric organization has some holiday advice for families with young children.
“Meal prep can be exciting and joyful this time of year, but it can also be stressful,” said Dr. Dina DiMaggio, M.D., of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“Consider how to involve the children in the process and consider assigning an adult to watch over the youngest when the kitchen is at full capacity. By planning ahead, families can help ensure the day goes well for all,” she said at a college news conference.
Here are some helpful tips:
- DiMaggio recommends starting with teaching kids how to stay safe while cooking by teaching them to hold kitchen tools safely. You can do this with specific child-safe knives.
- Show them how oven mitts can protect hands from heat and how to turn appliances on and off safely. Tell them about the importance of keeping flammable items away from open flames.
- Still, be sure to supervise your kids while cooking to make sure they follow the rules.
- Follow food safety guidelines, including washing raw vegetables and fruit, and cooking food thoroughly. Make sure young children wash their hands thoroughly after handling raw food, too. Model good behavior by washing your hands frequently.
- Make sure the food doesn’t contain raw eggs or other ingredients that should be cooked before letting your little helper taste it. Wash spoons before putting them back in food.
- The AAP recommends keeping raw and cooked foods separate in the refrigerator to prevent the spread of bacteria. Always thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the countertop.
- Keep hot food and liquids away from counters and table edges to make sure everyone doesn’t get burned. Make sure that small children cannot reach the microwave. Turn the pot handles to the side or back of the stove.
- Find your child before walking with hot liquids to make sure you don’t trip and hurt both of you. The AAP recommends that your child not drink hot liquids while lying on your lap.
- Food that needs to be refrigerated should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Clean up immediately after meals to protect children from choking hazards or accidents from exposure to alcohol or tobacco.
Foodsafety.gov offers other Thanksgiving safety tips.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics, Press Release, November 15, 2022