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Safety checklist: Kitchen

"Today's kitchens easily supplant the bathroom as the home's most dangerous room," writes Jane Brody, the New York Times Personal Health columnist.

No one wants to get rid of the kitchen, but Brody's "Tested Recipes for Kitchen Safety" provides important advice for immediately decreasing the chances of a visit to the emergency room.

For the longer term, here's a checklist of kitchen safety measures:

  1. Are workspaces at heights appropriate to users, including a seated user? 
  2. Can the kitchen be modified to accommodate a cook sitting down or with other physical challenges? 

    Aga cooker

     

    Although an induction range may be today's safest cooktop, evidence of safety built into attractive design can be found as far back as 1929, with the AGA Cooker, right, invented by and for a blind cook.

     

     

     

     

  3. Is there a heat-resistant surface next to the cooktop and oven for setting down hot pans?
  4. Is the cooktop safe, with controls at the front or to one side and lights to indicate hot burners?

    Gaggenau induction cooktop

     
    Induction ranges like Gaggenau's CI481 at right heat the pan while the cooktop surface stays cool.

     

     

     

  5. Are the microwave, toaster oven, small appliances within easy reach?
  6. Are there easy-to-operate can openers, jar openers, utensils and fire extinguisher?
  7. Is there good overall lighting, plus under-cabinet task lighting?
  8. Can faucets and cabinet handles be used with one hand and without finger strength?
  9. Are base cabinets and lower wall shelves adequate to store needed food supplies and dishes?
  10. Are switches and outlets within easy reach?
  11. Are all outlets GFI (ground fault interruptor) to prevent shocks?

For more complete home safety check lists, click on the following links:

"Safe at Home Checklist" from Rebuilding Together, along with the Administration on Aging and the American Occupational Therapy Association

"Preventing Falls at Home" brochure with an easy-to-follow checklist from the Administration on Aging

"The AARP Home Fit Guide: Information and Tips to Keep Your Home in Top Form for Comfort, Safety, and Livability" booklet includes checklists on home maintenance and energy efficiency, as well as livability evaluations and recommendations for fixing problems and how to get professional help

CAPS directory of Certified Aging in Place Specialists from the National Association of Home Builders