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 times by following a few safety tips.
The nation’s leading pediatrics organization offers vacation advice for families with young children.
“There’s a lot of excitement and joy around meal prepping this time of year, but it can also be stressful,” said American Academy of Pediatrics fellow Dr. Dina DiMaggio.
“Consider how to involve children in the process and consider designating an adult to follow the younger ones when the kitchen is at capacity. By planning ahead, families can help ensure the day goes well for everyone,” she said in an academy press release.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Start by showing kids how to stay safe while cooking by teaching them how to hold kitchen utensils securely, suggests DiMaggio. You can do this with knives specially designed for children.
- Show them how oven mitts can protect hands from the heat, as well as how to turn appliances on and off safely. Talk to them about the importance of keeping flammable objects away from open flames.
- However, always supervise children when they cook to make sure they follow the rules.
- Follow food safety guidelines, including washing raw vegetables and fruits and cooking food thoroughly. Make sure toddlers also wash their hands thoroughly after touching raw foods. Practice good behavior by washing your hands frequently.
- Make sure a food doesn’t contain raw eggs or other ingredients that need to be cooked before giving your little helper a taste. Wash the spoon before it goes back into the food.
- Store raw foods in the refrigerator separately from cooked foods to prevent the spread of bacteria, suggests the AAP. Always thaw meat in the refrigerator, never on the counter.
- Protect everyone from burns by placing hot foods and liquids away from the edges of counters and tables. Make sure young children cannot reach microwave ovens. Turn pot handles to the side or back of the stove.
- Find your child before walking with hot liquid, to make sure you don’t trip and injure both of you. Don’t drink hot liquids while your child is on your lap, recommends the AAP.
- Foods requiring refrigeration should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Clean up immediately after feeding to avoid an accident in which 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