Kitchen safety

Unattended cooking often results in kitchen fires and scald burns to children. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the leading cause of home fires in North America.

Reduce the chance of starting a kitchen fire by following a few simple rules:

  • Keep flammable objects away from heating sources.
  • If you smell a gas odour coming from the stove when not in use, call your utility company immediately (this number should be kept close by). 
  • Towels or wet dishcloths should not be used as potholders because they can heat up very quickly and may catch fire.
  • An electric outlet should not be overloaded with multiple appliances. 
  • Regularly check for fraying on the electric cords of all appliances.  
  • Open lids of pressure cookers away from your face as the steam can cause burns.
  • Turn the panhandles to the centre of the stove so that your child cannot reach them and knock them off the stove. 
  • Make sure an adult is present when children are cooking in the kitchen.
  • Do not let your small child near an open oven door. Your child can be burned by the heat or by falling onto the door or into the oven.  
  • Do not leave the kitchen while cooking. 
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, and a smoke detector on each floor of your house.


Microwaves heat foods and liquids to very high temperatures. This can result in burns from spills, splashes and the release of steam.  The face and upper body are the most common areas burned on children.

Make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions and keep these considerations in mind:

  • Place your microwave at a safe height and within easy reach to avoid spills. The face of the person using the microwave should always be higher than the top of the door.
  • Children under age 7 should not operate the microwave. Instruct and supervise older children. Teach them how to remove food from the microwave using oven mitts.
  • Never heat baby bottles of formula or milk in the microwave, especially those with plastic bottle liners, they can burst, pouring scalding liquids onto the baby. Warm the milk in a pot or steaming bottle warmer.       
  • Steam builds rapidly in covered containers, reaching temperatures greater than 93°C (200 °F). This can easily result in burns to the face, arms and hands. Puncture plastic wrap or use vented containers in the microwave to allow steam to escape. Wait at least one minute before removing the lid, and remove it by lifting the corner furthest away from your face (example: microwave popcorn).  
  • Stir and test food from the microwave before tasting, as the food heats unevenly and the temperature can get very high.


Keep these tips in mind when enjoying fondue with family :

  • Parental supervision is needed.
  • Do not wear loose clothing when having fondue.
  • Place a fondue set on a non-flammable, flat, and stable surface.
  • Do not add liquid fuel while the fondue flame is lit. It is preferable to use Sterno Canned Heat. 
  • Make sure there are no children around when carrying the fondue pot from the stove to the kitchen table.
Reviewed by Trauma specialists at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
Last updated: July 2013, December 2015


Phone : 514-412-4400 ext. 23310

Fax : 514-412-4254

514-412-4499, Emergency Department (for patient transfer) / 514-412-4399 (fax)