Healthy Children - April 2019

How to Cool Food Safely

It is important to let food you have just cooked cool before eating it to avoid the risk of burns. Be sure to talk about safety, including waiting until food cools off before eating it and putting hot kitchen tools somewhere safe. Your child may need help removing the pan from the stovetop, putting the hot pancakes onto a plate, and putting kitchen tools somewhere safe to cool off.

  1. Ask an adult to remove hot food and kitchen tools from the stove so they can cool faster.
  2. Use potholders or oven mitts to move hot dishes so that you do not burn yourself.

Safety Tip: Put hot kitchen tools on a trivet or cooling rack so that they do not damage the countertop.

How to Set a Table:

While your child is still learning, he or she might get the place setting a little confused and need some help. Set up a sample place setting for your child to follow. After showing the correct place setting, give your child the necessary supplies and have him or her set the table.

  1. Put the napkin and fork on the left side of the plate. The fork should lie on top of the napkin.
  2. Place the knife next to the plate on the right side. The blade should face the plate.
  3. The spoon belongs on the right side of the knife.
  4. The cup goes above the knife and spoon.

How to Serve Family Style

Food is usually not cooked in individual servings. Instead, most dishes are made in a large batch and then divided into portions when served. When a large serving dish is passed around the table from which diners can help themselves, this is called “family style.”

When serving family style:

  • Make sure to use clean serving utensils that no one has eaten from or cooked with.
  • Remind your child that he or she should eat from his or her own plate, and never directly from the serving dish, to avoid spreading germs. No one should touch the food with his or her fingers when serving or holding the serving dish.
  • Everyone will have his or her own plate and eating utensil.
  • Uneaten food should never get returned to the serving dish.

How to use a Cooktop Safely

Teach your children how to use a cooktop safely by talking about the points below:

  • Different cooktops have different ways to turn on the heat.
  • If the cooktop uses gas, you will have to turn the knob to light the burner before choosing the temperature.
  • On a gas stove, you will see the flame on the burner.
  • With electric and induction cooktops, turn the knob directly on the temperature you want. You will not see a flame on the burner.
  • We strongly recommend that you or another adult be the one to turn on the cooktop. You can explain and describe each step to your child.
  • Make sure the handle of your pot or pan is turned inward, toward the center of the cooktop. Otherwise, you could accidentally knock the pot off the stove, causing serious burns.
  • Never walk away from food cooking on the cooktop or leave it unattended.
  • When moving any hot skillet, pan, or lid, use potholders, not towels, which can catch fire.
  • Keep your cooking area neat. Do not keep flammable items, like dishtowels, papers, or cardboard packages, neat the stove.