Teaching Your Kids about Knife Safety
December 1, 2015
As a parent, you’ve probably spent a lot of time keeping your child away from knives. At some point though, he or she will reach an age when it’s time to start teaching them how to use knives safely. If you’ve decided your child has now reached that age, this is the post for you.
Kitchen Knife Safety
Children are often interested in helping their parents cook and the sooner they learn how to safely use knives, the sooner they can do that. Be patient with your child though, as he or she develops this new skill, and practice the following tips.
Choose an extra-large cutting board. Children will feel safer using a knife their first few times if they have as much cutting space available as possible.
Place a stool or chair in front of the counter so that the child is standing in front of it at waist level. They need to be able to see what they’re cutting.
You and your child should both be wearing closed-toe shoes (and no trying to catch potentially falling knives!).
Make sure your child is cutting with one hand and holding the object being cut with the other. The non-cutting hand should be shaped like a “C” with the fingers tucked under to avoid injury.
Only use sharp knives. I know this sounds scary when we’re talking about that knife being in your child’s hand but a sharp knife is much safer than a dull one. Take a few minutes before your child’s training session to sharpen the knife you will be using. Later on, you can devote another training session to teaching your child how to maintain and sharpen knives as well!
Remember that the knife is never to leave the cutting board when in use. Teach your child to rock the blade from tip to end across whatever they are cutting.
Pocket Knife Safety:
If your child is the type who enjoys the outdoors, chances are he or she will want a pocket knife. A pocket knife is like a rite of passage for some kids and teaching them how to use it can be just as rewarding for you.
First off, make sure that your child knows exactly how the knife works before using it. How it opens, closes, locks into place – these are the important “firsts”. Once the firsts are understood, your child can move on to the dos and don’ts.
- Practice opening and closing the knife until you are comfortable doing so safely.
- Carry your pocket knife with the blade closed.
- Keep your knife clean and dry.
- Use your knife to hammer things. It’s made for cutting.
- Throw your pocket knife. Someone could get hurt.
- Take apart your knife. Doing so will leave it unsafe and, in many cases, no longer protected by warranty.
General Outdoor Knife Safety Tips:
There are certain safety tips that apply regardless of what type of knife your child is using. If they’ll be outdoors a lot, here are some general tips they should know.
- Always cut away from your gripping hand, never towards it.
- If you get tired while using your knife, take a break.
- Always have a first aid kit nearby.
- Never walk with an open knife. Make sure it’s folded shut or in a sheath before you take one step.
Indeed knives can be dangerous but all children will have to learn how to use them at some point in their lives. With your guidance, your child can learn how to use knives safely and with confidence.
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