Baby weekender: 3 ways to childproof your stove

Consumer Reports News: October 02, 2009 05:08 AM

Your kitchen may be more than just a place to cook, but there can be more potential hazards in there than in any other room in the house. One main reason: The stove.

Here are some safety tips to childproof and keep your baby or young child safe.

1. Use the back burners. You could install a stove guard, a transparent piece of plastic that you place across the front of the stovetop to keep your child from reaching pots and pans. But these guards make it awkward to use the stove. An easier solution is to get in the habit of using the back burners. If you need the front burners, too, turn the handles of pots and pans sideways so they don’t hang over the front of the stove. In fact, turning the handles when using the back burners is also a good habit; it will make pots and pans that much more difficult for growing children to reach.

2. Remove stove knobs. The easiest way to make sure your child can’t turn on the stove when you’re not looking is to remove the knobs when the stove is not in use. An alternative is to purchase stove-knob covers. Leave those covers off or open when cooking so you can quickly turn off burners in an emergency. If you are buying a new stove, consider one with knobs on the top where your child can’t reach them. Even with stovetop knobs you need to remain vigilant; a child could pull a chair over to the stove to reach them.

3. Even a cold stove can be dangerous. A stove may seem benign when it’s off, but there are more hazards than meet the eye. Keep your child away from the stove whether it’s hot or cold, on or off. Don’t allow your kids, or anyone else for that matter, to put their weight on an open stove door. The door could become a lever, causing the stove to tip over.

Sign up for the Safety Alert program from Consumers Reports and partners, and see the Consumer Reports Guide to Childproofing & Safety for more tips.

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