Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Children and Parents

For many families, Thanksgiving is full of turkey, travel, and gratitude. But, with the kids home from school, it can be easy to forget that hot ovens, boiling soup, and sharp cutlery are dangerous. Also, if you’re heading out or staying in, don’t forget to check the house for safety hazards.


Dr. Michael Lynch is the Medical Director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center. He says, “Unfortunately, every year, Thanksgiving is marred for many people with accidental medication ingestions, environmental exposures, and food poisoning.” It’s important to plan in advance and take extra safety precautions before and during Thanksgiving.



Follow these Thanksgiving safety tips to ensure a festive and fun holiday:


Kitchen Safety

Parents must make sure that children and pets don’t get close to hot food cooking in the kitchen. Safe Kids Worldwide says, “Avoid carrying or holding a child while cooking on the stove. Ask a visiting relative or family member to be the designated child wrangler and lead younger kids away from the kitchen to more fun activities.” Remember, young children are curious, and they will grab at anything dangling off the kitchen counter, including sharp knives, appliance cords, and recipe books.


Keep your kitchen free of clutter, children, pets, and dangerous objects:


  • Never leave children unattended when there is food cooking in the kitchen.

  • Keep pot handles turned inward and out of the reach of children.

  • Keep sharp utensils stored up high and out of the reach of children.

  • Teach children not to go near hot ovens, especially when the oven door is open.

  • Move dishes (hot and cold) away from the edge of counters, so kids or dogs don’t pull them down.

  • When cooking hot dishes, keep children at least 3 feet away, as hot steam or liquids could cause burns.

  • Consider putting up a baby gate to keep young children and pets out of the kitchen.

  • Have a fire extinguisher handy in case of a grease fire.

  • Don’t forget to turn off the oven and burners when you’re finished cooking.

Food Safety

Keep your loved ones healthy and happy this Thanksgiving. Dr. Lynch says to “Thaw the turkey completely before cooking," and “cook stuffing separately in a casserole dish rather than stuffed within the turkey.” It’s also important to teach children the basics of food safety, and what the word “hot” means. Don’t forget that children might pull on tablecloths and spill soup or other hot dishes, which could lead to pediatric scald burns.


Keep your dining table safe and secure this Thanksgiving:


  • Always use a thermometer to make sure the turkey is fully cooked to a minimum temperature of at least 165°F.

  • Never let children carve a turkey or use sharp knives.

  • Teach children to wait for hot dishes to cool down, so they don’t burn their mouths.

  • Avoid pediatric burns by keeping hot liquids away from young chil