Teaching your children how to safely use appliances can help them build independence at home and confidence to take on the “real world.” How can you tell if your children are ready? Consider these questions:

  • Are they tall enough to properly use appliances?
  • Are they strong enough to properly use appliances?
  • Can they read and understand instructions?
  • And most importantly, are they old enough to be home alone?

Once you’ve determined they’re ready using the questions above:

1. Set time together to focus on this task – have the child demonstrate the proper use of the appliance for you before you allow them to use it on their own.

2. Keep emergency numbers handy – 9-1-1 is a number that everyone knows, but local police and poison control numbers may be more difficult to find in an emergency. Make sure these numbers are posted somewhere visible in the home.

Helpful appliance-specific tips to reinforce with your child:

1. Stove/ Range Safety
• Never leave the kitchen while pots and pans are cooking on the stove.
• Turn burners off as soon as you take the food off of the stove.
• Keep cooking utensils away from the range. This includes oven mitts, pot holders and dishtowels.

2. Dishwasher Safety
• Show where the drying element is located, and instruct your child to never touch it.
• Avoid using the door as a place to stand.
• Keep the dishwasher closed and latched when it’s not being loaded or unloaded.

3. Washer/ Dryer Safety
• Clear the lint trap each and every time they use the dryer – a simple habit that can prevent fires.
• Talk to your children about the poisonous nature of detergents. If they have smaller siblings, discuss the importance of putting the detergent out of reach.

Please keep in mind that these are not all-encompassing, and appliance safety guidelines will vary based on their features. For more appliance safety tips, visit the National Ag Safety Database website.