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Remember Kitchen Safety for the Upcoming Holiday Season

As the holiday season approaches, it is important for parents and caregivers to remember to check the kitchen for preventable hazards and to supervise children at all times in the kitchen. 

It’s important to keep cabinets closed and locked, and to store hazardous substances out of reach, but that’s not enough. The most important safety precaution in the kitchen is constant, close and attentive supervision. Simply being in the same room as a child is not necessarily supervising. An actively supervised child is in sight and in reach at all times.

Burns — from spills, steam, hot surfaces and flame — can be especially devastating injuries.  Because young children have thinner skin than adults, they burn more severely and at lower temperatures.

Scald burns from hot liquid or steam are the most common type of burns among children ages 4 and under. A child will suffer a full-thickness burn (third-degree burn) after just three seconds of exposure to 140-degree water, and will need surgery and skin grafts.

Safe Kids recommends these precautions against kitchen burns:

  • Never leave a hot stove unattended. (Unattended food on the stove is the number one cause of home fires.)
  • Never hold a child while cooking or carrying hot items.
  • Cook on back burners whenever possible, and turn all handles toward the back of the stove. 
  • Don’t allow loose-fitting clothing in the kitchen.
  • Keep hot foods and liquids away from the edges of counters and tables. Be especially careful around tablecloths — children can pull hot dishes down onto themselves.
  • Tie up electrical cords of small appliances. A toddler playing with a dangling cord can pull a toaster or microwave down from a countertop.

In addition to hot surfaces, hot liquids and sharp objects, the other major hazard in the kitchen is poison. Store potentially hazardous goods, such as cleaning products and alcohol, in locked cabinets out of reach. Also, install a carbon monoxide detector to alert everyone to get out of the house in the event of a buildup of the odorless toxic gas given off by fuel-burning appliances.

Children who can follow directions may be ready to help out in the kitchen with tasks that do not involve knives, appliances or heat. You know your own children. Don’t give them knives or let them handle anything hot until they have shown the maturity and coordination to do it safely.  Some children mature faster than others, so it’s up to parents to use good judgment about each child’s capabilities.

Spotlight on Safe Kids Middlesex County: Safe Kids Fair

Children at Safe Kids Fair 2009

Students from local Middlesex County elementary schools show off reflective bracelets they were given at the Halloween and Pedestrian Safety station.

For nearly 20 years, the Level One Trauma Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Safe Kids Middlesex County has held an annual Safe Kids Fair for second and third graders. This year, approximately 775 children from 11 Middlesex County elementary schools attended the safety and injury prevention program for a day filled with fun, interactive safety demonstrations and information. Teachers are provided with educational materials and resources that will enable them to incorporate the injury prevention information into the curriculum year-round.

Thank you to the volunteers from local organizations that helped to make this a meaningful and educational event for teachers and students: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s Emergency and Pharmacy Departments, RWJUH Emergency Medical Services, Brain Injury Association of New Jersey, Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office, The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at RWJUH, ShuaLife Skills LLC, and Child Passenger Safety Technicians from the Safe Kids Middlesex County Coalition, the Highland Park First-Aid Squad, Catholic Charities, as well as Safe Kids Coalition members and hospital employees.

Child Safety at Safe Kids Fair 2009

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Emergency nurses educate students about Pedestrian and Halloween Safety.

For more information about Safe Kids New Jersey events, click here.

Safe Kids Walk This Way!

Safe Kids Bergen County Walk This Way

Safe Kids Bergen County Walk This Way

Child pedestrian injury remains the number two cause of unintentional injury death among children ages 5 to 14 in the U.S. Safe Kids New Jersey Coalitions were joined by FedEx volunteers and local school children to raise awareness of pedestrian safety on International Walk to School Day, October 7th.


This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the Safe Kids Walk This Way pedestrian safety program and the partnership with program sponsor FedEx. Through the year-long program, children learn safe pedestrian behaviors and together with Safe Kids, school communities identify local pedestrian hazards and educate pedestrians and drivers about safe behaviors and improve environments for child pedestrians.

Safe Kids Essex County Walk This Way

Safe Kids Essex County Walk This Way


Safe Kids Middlesex County Walk This Way

Safe Kids Middlesex County Walk This Way

Learn more about the Safe Kids Walk This Way program.

Team Safe Kids New Jersey Runner Completes His First Marathon!


Ali Zaidi (back row, right) and other Team Safe Kids Runners at the Marine Corps Marathon

Ali Zaidi of Chester, New Jersey, ran in the Marine Corps Marathon on behalf of Team Safe Kids New Jersey. We asked Ali to describe his experiences running his first marathon and why he partners with Safe Kids.

What inspired you to run in the marathon on behalf of Safe Kids New Jersey?

As a father of 3 children, ages 9, 11, and 17, I’ve always recognized the dangers that surround our children. Whether it’s the safety of my own children or someone else’s, I’ve always been very sensitive to those dangers. Knowing that there exists a group like Safe Kids that makes it a full-time job to keep children safe compelled me to align my efforts with theirs. While time can be considered a currency, there is no better currency than currency itself. The hours I spent running 26.2 miles raised currency that Safe Kids can apply where it’s best utilized.

Do you think you will stay involved with Safe Kids?

Absolutely! The people at Safe Kids welcomed me with such open arms that I want to stay connected. As a member of the community that has been served by Safe Kids and as someone that has been touched by their hospitality – I’m definitely going to stay involved.

How did it feel to run your first marathon?

At the starting line it was like knowing that sometime during the next few hours I’ll come within an inch of my life. As scary as that seems, I couldn’t help but think about the children that come within an inch of their lives every day. At that point I just wanted to hear the starters’ pistol sound off.

What kept you going during those final miles?

I thought about crossing the finish line as the release of funds from my financial supporters went into the capable hands of Safe Kids, and that kept me going. There was no question in my mind about crossing the finish line, whether it was going to be in full stride or on hands and knees.

Are you planning to run again on behalf of Safe Kids?

Yes! I’m going to try and make the Marine Corps Marathon a regular event. I’d also like to find some half-marathons where Safe Kids can be represented.

How did you gather funds and exceed your target?

I was surprised how quickly contributions were being made. In fact, I had increased my target a few weeks before the marathon and still exceeded it. I attribute part of that to the user-friendliness of the convio website provided by FireFly. The biggest success factor was my family and friends. Some of them distributed my “initial ask” email to their family and friends and that created a snowball effect. In two instances donors saw that I was short of my target and pledged an amount that enabled me to reach that target. I also had two articles appear in local newspapers featuring my efforts with Safe Kids. This further increased the awareness.

What did you learn while training for the marathon?

Confronting my own weakness was always in the forefront. Whether it was regrets about a skipped breakfast or wishing I drank more water – you will definitely acknowledge them. I also realized that there is a need for increased involvement from companies. Johnson & Johnson is the model of excellence when it comes to integrity and “giving.” I feel other companies should follow suit and recognize their obligations in keeping children safe.

You can still donate to Team Safe Kids New Jersey by clicking here.