Make your kitchens as safe as they can be

QUEENSLAND Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is urging parents and carers to fireproof their kitchens these school holidays, with statistics revealing the highest number of childhood burns occur in this part of the home.

The Centre for Children's Burns and Trauma Research in Brisbane, which is funded by the Children's Hospital Foundation, revealed that eight of the top 10 causes of childhood burns occurred in the kitchen.

QFES Acting Community Engagement Manager Kevin Reading said there were a number of simple ways to fireproof the kitchen.

"Always supervise children in the kitchen and never leave cooking unattended," Mr Reading said.

"Never use water to extinguish fat or oil fires.

"Always clear away food crumbs and scraps from cooking appliances after use and keep electrical appliances away from water and open flames.

"It is also very important that children are not allowed to sit on kitchen benches by the stove to watch their parents cook."

Head of Burns and Trauma at the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital, Professor Roy Kimble said while statistics showed no particular peak in burns during school holiday periods, the risk was higher given the increased likelihood children would be helping parents out in the kitchen.

"There will be approximately 800 new burns cases this year at the newly opened Lady Cilento Children's Hospital," Prof. Kimble said.

"The most common cause of these burns is hot beverages such as tea and coffee (18%), closely followed by stovetop (7%) and hot oven doors (4%) which most commonly occur on the child's hands.

"Burns from a saucepan or kettle is still quite high (7%), along with burns from hot noodles straight from the microwave oven (5%).

Last year, QFES attended 862 house fires where the origin was the kitchen and Mr Reading said cooking fires were the most common cause of all house fires.

"Kitchen fires are particularly dangerous as they can start from seemingly harmless everyday appliances like toasters, microwaves and stoves, and have devastating consequences," he said.

"They have the potential to start and spread quickly throughout the house in minutes."

Mr Reading urged all residents to have a fire extinguisher and fire blanket accessible in the kitchen and know how to use them.

"Residents should also check their smoke alarms are in good working order by testing and cleaning them every month," he said.

If a kitchen fire does occur and can't be safely put out, residents are urged to switch off the appliance, if safe to do so, leave immediately, and call Triple Zero (000) from a safe place.

For further information on how to fireproof your kitchen and other parts of the house, visit

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