When you work in a kitchen you should know basic first aid for common kitchen injuries.

The most common cause of house fires is cooking.

The most common cause of burns in kids under 3 come from scalding hot liquids or hot surfaces.

Two of the most common accidents in the kitchen are cuts and burns.


Preventing Accidents While Cooking

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it’s not surprising that most accidental burns occur there. Here are a few tips to help you make your kitchen a safer place.

  • Most kitchen fires start because of heating fat or oil. Covering the pot with a lid will smother the fire, so will baking soda.
  • Stay in the kitchen while food is cooking. It is all to easy to get involved on the computer or television or phone and forget your times and your food will burn.  Remember to respect the kitchen. It’s not a place for horseplay or fighting.  Accidents of all kinds will happen.
  • Use a timer so you have a reminder.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back or center of the stove.
  • Keep items such as dish towels, plastic bags, and long sleeves away from the heating surface.
  • Keep small children and pets away from the front of the oven or stove when in use.
  • Immediately call for an adult to help for the smallest of fires! Fire problems can get out of control quickly. Call for 911 help. It is better to be embarrassed letting someone know you have a problem before it is out of control.
  • Alert everyone in the house.

*Every home should have a first aid kit and have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and know how to use it.   All family members and baby sitters should know where they are.


First Aid for Kitchen Burns 


There are two forms of burns that occur commonly in the kitchen.

  1. dry burn is one that occurs from a direct source of dry heat, such as touching a burner or other hot object.

  2. moist burn is one occurring from steam.


Burns are indicated in various degrees:

  1. first degree burn refers to burning of the top layer of skin. It is associated with swelling and reddening of the skin. The casualty may complain of mild to serious pain.

  2. second degree burn refers to burning the top layer of skin, along with the second sub-layer. It is associated with raw, moist skin – colored white or very red, and often weeping fluids. The casualty may complain of extreme pain.

  3. third degree burn refers to burning the top two layers of skin, as well as underlying muscle, nerve or fatty tissues. These are extremely serious, and are associated with waxy white or charred skin, dry or leathery appearance, and complaints of little to no pain in the deepest burned areas.  

If despite your best efforts, you or a family member suffers a burn in the kitchen, follow these first aid tips:

  • Run clean cool water over the burned area, soak it in cool water (not ice water), or cover it with a clean, cold, wet towel.

  • Cover the burn with a sterile bandage or a clean cloth. Protect the burn from pressure and friction.

  • Use over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain.

  • Do not apply butter, ice, fluffy cotton dressing, adhesive bandages, cream, oil spray, or any household remedy to a burn.

  • If a burn appears to be severe or you develop signs of infection, call your doctor.


 Preventing Scalding Burns

Of the many types of burns that can happen in your home, scalds may be the most unexpected. Thousands of people are injured each year by hot liquids and many of them are young children. Children and older people have thinner skin than teens through middle age adults and are more likely to receive severe burns from hot liquid. Simple precautions can protect you and your family from scalding burns.


    • Set your hot water heater to 120 degrees.

    • Turn pot handles toward the back or center of the stove so children cannot tip pots over.

    • Never warm baby bottles in the microwave; they may heat unevenly and can burn your baby’s mouth.

    • Use mugs or coffee cups with lids when you are around children.

    • Keep hot liquids like soup, coffee, or tea away from the edge of counters and tables.

    • Avoid lifting and carrying heavy or awkward containers or get two people to team up to lift where possible.

    •  Never move hot oil

    • Wait for the stove top to cool before starting to clean it.

    • Keep a good selection of hot pads and oven mitts on hand. Always use them for any bowl, pot, or pan that has been in a toaster oven or microwave. And if a hot pad or oven mitt gets wet, don’t use it until it dries. A wet pad or cloth will easily transmit heat.

    • Open the lids of hot steaming pot away from you, the steam from the pot can scald you.

First Aid for Scalding Burns

If you or a family member suffers a scalding burn, take the following steps to start healing:

  • Remove any clothing that is wet from the hot liquid.

  • Slowly cool the injury under running clean tap water for 30 minutes.

  • Do not apply ice, because it may stop important blood flow to the damaged skin.

  • Avoid ointments, grease and oil (contributes to the cooking process of the burn).

When a serious burn occurs: 

  • Phone for medical help if necessary.
  • Cool the burn.

  • Immerse in CLEAN cool water (not cold)  If it is not possible to immerse, gently pour cool water over the burn.       If that is not possible, use a cool clean soaked cloth over the burn.

  • Remove any restrictive materials (i.e. clothes) or objects (i.e. jewelry) immediately, before swelling occurs.

  • When the burn has been cooled, and the pain has lessened, apply a loosely fitting clean (preferably sterile) cloth over the  burn. Secure with tape, begin careful not to apply tape over the burn.

  • Make the burned person as comfortable as possible until help arrives


Safety precautions for sharp items:

  •   Use a drawer divider or knife rack for sharp cutting tools.

  •  Don’t try to catch a falling knife.

  •  Don’t soak knives in sink or dish pan or water.

  •  Sweep up broken glass from the floor using broom and dustpan.

  •  Use wet paper towel instead of bare fingers.

  •  Wrap broken glass and dispose of it safely;

  • Keep knives sharp and use properly.A knife can be your best friend during food preparation, or it can cause serious injury. There are some basic safety tips and hints about using a knife properly. 

  •  The most important tip  is to chop slowly and carefully.

  • Always cut away from your body.

  • Make sure your hands are dry and the surface you’re working on it nonslip.

  • Make sure that you curl your fingers under on the hand holding the food. This takes a while to get used to, but will become second nature with practice. If your fingers are curled under, the chances are good you will never cut yourself. Watch what you’re doing at all times.

  • Using your dominant hand, hold the knife firmly and, using a rocking motion, cut through the food. The knife should not leave the surface you’re working on. Move your hand (with the curled under fingers) along as the knife cuts the food.

First aid for cuts:

*The first thing to do is always tell an adult in charge.


Minor cuts – wash with soap and water, blot dry and bandage

Serious cuts can occur from numerous sharp objects in the kitchen. It is important to seek medical help if you are unsure of the seriousness of the cut, or the origin of the cut (IE. a rusty can lid, a knife, broken glass, etc.)

  • First aid should be applied to cuts immediately to prevent infection.

  • Stop severe bleeding with the pressure of a thick cloth.

  • Completely cover the cut before you start cooking again.  You can put a bandage and then wrap your figure with plastic wrap to keep the wound clean and prevent blood and other things from getting into the food.

Whenever a serious cut occurs:

  •  Assess the situation with an adult.

  •  Phone for medical help if necessary.

  •  If possible, clean the cut of any dirt or debris by wiping AWAY from the wound with a clean (preferably sterile) cloth.

  •  Stop severe bleeding with the pressure of a thick cloth.

  •  Protect the wound by covering it with a clean (preferably sterile) cloth

  • If there is profuse bleeding, use a bandage or cloth to apply  pressure to the cut. Elevate the cut body part above the heart if possible.

  • If there is an embedded object, do NOT try to remove it yourself, rather support the object with the help of bandaging and have a doctor remove it to prevent further damage.

  • Make the injured person as comfortable as possible until help arrives

*Consumer product safety commission estimates over 137,000 people receive hospital treatment for injuries from kitchen knives each year.

Electrical Safety

Electricity in the kitchen area can cause any number of accidents from electrocution to burns the following are precautions concerning electricity:


  •  Don’t overload circuits by using adaptors

  • Keep leads (cords) as short as possible

  • Appliances save both time and work in the kitchen. But, they are a source of shock, burns and other injuries.           Read owner’s manual. Use care with any plugged in appliance

  • Water and electricity don’t mix –keep appliance and cords dry.


  • Don’t use electrical appliances near to sinks.

  •  Avoid damage to electrical cords – tugging on cord, stapling, or  burn them.

  • Use outlets properly.

First aid for electrical shock – Call 911 for help immediately.


  1.  Don’t touch the person connected to electricity.

  2. For electric shock, first kill the power to the equipment or electrical source before touching a person who is still in contact with electric current or pull person away with cloth loop otherwise you could be hurt, too

  3. Then check to make sure the person is breathing. If the person is not breathing and has no pulse, have someone call for emergency medical assistance and administer CPR until help arrives.

For Falls

Don’t move the person if you suspect broken bones or if the person complains of bad back or neck pain. Keep the victim comfortable until emergency medical help arrives. If the person is not badly hurt and can move comfortably on his or her own, help the person up and have him or her sit down until feeling OK.

The World Health Organization reports that falls are in the top five leading causes of burden of disease for children between the ages of 5 and 14 years, and the top fifteen leading causes of burden of disease for children between the ages of 0 and 4 years (Peden et al 2002).


 Choking: Heimlich maneuver CPR – If person has stopped breathing and heartbeat have stopped.

First aid for Choking – If person can speak, cough or breathe, do nothing. Do the Heimlich maneuver procedure.

  Other First Aid Necessities

Food Allergies are becoming increasingly common, as well as severe.

As most food preparation takes place in the kitchen, it pays to be diligent about ingredients that may affect members of your household, as well as knowledgeable on what to do in the case of an emergency. If you or others have severe allergies, you may be instructed to wear a medical bracelet outlining your condition, or be required carry medicine to be administered in the event of accidental ingestion.

It is extremely important for other members of your household to understand your condition, and know how to treat it. For example, if some has an allergy to nuts or sea food or bee stings, they may carry an Epi-pen with them self at all times. The Epi-pen is an injectable shot of epinephrine designed to treat anaphylactic shock. There are specifics regarding how it is administered that family members, teachers, friend, and co-workers must be made aware of in order to help the person  to get to a hospital – and therefore save a life.

Often times someone does not know they are allergic to a food or insect bite and the first time the reaction occurs can be frightening to all concerned. Keeping a calm head and getting immediate medical attention will save a life.

I Recommend The Red Cross First Aid Training Program 

 The Red Cross offers first aid training to  organizations and individuals through a variety of courses. Appropriate classes are available for almost any age and situation. The courses are flexible and convenient, because local chapters coordinate with the authorized providers administering the classes.


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