Safety Is The Secret Ingredient To Holiday Traditions


KDHE and Safe Kids Kansas offers kitchen safety tips

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TOPEKA – With the arrival of the holidays there are many memories to be made and traditions to follow, and having children participate in those traditions is one of the best parts of the season. To ensure the safety of everyone, follow these tips for a safe and happy holiday!

Limit your travel and the size of gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It’s hard to be apart, but important to protect the ones you love.

“The kitchen can be a busy place with lots of multi-tasking during the holidays, so it’s important to be aware of potential hazards to prevent cuts, burns, poisoning and other injuries,” said Cherie Sage of Safe Kids Kansas.

When it comes to holiday meals, we want to keep lead off the menu. According to the CDC, no safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, delay development, cause behavioral problems and cause other serious health effects.

Reduce your risk of lead poisoning by shopping locally and only buying domestically produced spices. Imported and non-domestically produced spices could contain lead.

Handmade pottery and dishes that have glazes or other painted decorations may contain lead. When food or drinks are stored or prepared in these dishes lead can leach into them and be ingested causing lead poisoning.

Awareness of possible lead exposure and keeping kids safe from lead sources is the key to prevention. For more information on lead poisoning please visit KDHE Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention.

When kids are in the kitchen, supervision is key. Whether children are helping prepare food or just hanging out and watching the action, they should be where you can see them at all times. If you will be busy with preparations, ask another adult or teenager to watch the children and help them join in with some age-appropriate tasks.

Some kid-friendly kitchen tasks include: tearing lettuce, rinsing fruits and vegetables under cold water, stirring ingredients in a bowl, using cookie cutters, measuring dry ingredients, using vegetable peelers or cutting soft fruits with a butter knife.

“You know your own children. Don’t give them knives or let them handle anything hot until you know they have the maturity and coordination to do it safely,” Sage said. “Some children mature faster than others, so it’s up to parents to use good judgment about each child’s capabilities.”

Here are some additional tips for safety in the kitchen:

  • Never hold a child while cooking or carrying hot items, especially liquids that can spill or splash.
  • 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.
  • Keep poisons out of sight and reach of children. This includes cleaning products, alcoholic drinks and even some baking extracts and spices.
  • Tie up the electrical cords of small appliances. A toddler playing with a dangling cord can pull a toaster or microwave down from a countertop.
  • Be mindful of sharp objects, keeping them out of reach of little hands.

For more information about preventing injuries visit For information about the KDHE Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, visit

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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