Kitchen Cooking Burns a Real Danger for Kids

The day she ended up with second- and third-degree burns on her back, 4-year-old Giuliana Maggio was just busy doing what 4-year-olds do: running around the house, playing hide-and-seek during a family gathering.

Giuliana never saw the electrical cord running from the wall to the hot slow cooker sitting on the kitchen table.

She ran into the cord, and pulled the scalding hot contents of the slow cooker on to her small body.

Fortunately, her mother is a registered nurse and knew she had to act quickly. The family called 911, and Dina Maggio immediately put her daughter in the shower to run cool water over the burned area.

“As the cold water ran over her, and clothing was removed, I could see the layers of skin coming off and knew it was bad,” Maggio said.

The little girl had second- and third-degree burns on her arms and lower back. She was taken to Loyola University Medical Center’s burn center for treatment.

“Almost 20 percent of Giuliana’s body was severely burned. But it could have been much worse if her mother had not acted quickly and correctly,” Dr. Anthony Baldea, a burn surgeon at Loyola University Medical Center in Illinois, said in a university news release.

Giuliana underwent surgery and spent two weeks in Loyola’s burn unit.

“Giuliana’s wounds continue to improve and the burned areas are healing well. We do not even expect to see any scarring,” Baldea said.

Unfortunately, this burn accident was not an isolated case.

Cooking burns are common among American children, but can be prevented with simple precautions, doctors say.

“The majority of our burn patients are children who are seriously injured in cooking- or food-related injuries,” Baldea said.

In 2011, an estimated 136,000 children were seen in U.S. emergency rooms for burn injuries, according to the American Burn Foundation. More than 1,100 children die each year from burn injuries, and the annual cost of scald injuries is $44 million.

Ways to protect children include establishing a “no kid zone” in the kitchen around stoves, ovens and other hot items. Also, make sure cords from appliances — such as slow cookers, deep fryers and coffeemakers — don’t dangle over the counter edge, Baldea said.

Place pots and pans on the back burners with handles turned away from the front of the stove, and keep anything hot on tabletops out of reach of young children.

If a child does suffer a burn, use cool — not cold — water to stop the burning process. Remove all clothing, including diapers from the injured area, Baldea advised.

Cover the burn with a clean dry sheet or bandages and seek medical attention immediately.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Cooking Class: Cutting Boards

Maple

PROS:

If kindly treated, a maple cutting board can last at least 10 years before retiring gracefully to the kitchen wall as a chronicler of meals past. Wood has “give” and doesn’t dull blades as quickly as harder surfaces do. Many chefs prefer end-grain boards (those that look like checkerboards) because they’re firmer than edge-grain boards (those made with long strips of wood, like the one above) and stand up to restaurant use. For the home chef, however, end-grain boards are probably not worth the extra cost.

CONS:

Despite what many people believe, wood does not contain a natural germicide that kills bacteria. It is not dishwasher-safe and must be oiled to prevent splits and cracks.

CARE:

Scrub with a nonabrasive brush and hot, soapy water. Rinse and dry thoroughly—water that sits can create a germ-friendly environment. What’s more, when water is left to evaporate, the wood’s own moisture evaporates with it, which means you’ll have to treat your board with oil more frequently. You can tell the board needs to be oiled when its glue lines are extremely light. Use mineral oil or raw, all-natural tung or walnut oil, both available at most health-food stores. (Don’t use cooking oil—it can make the wood smell rancid.)

* * * * * * * *

Bamboo

PROS:

Crafted from narrow, laminated bamboo strips, these boards have become popular for everyday cooking because they function just as well as hardwood boards without all the extra TLC. They’re lightweight and attractive enough to double as serving trays, and the hard surface means fewer nicks and slices that harbor bacteria.

CONS:

Bamboo (which is a grass) is harder than wood, so it performs well, but your knives will need more frequent sharpening.

CARE:

Compared with wood boards, bamboo won’t shrink or swell as much when exposed to water, and you won’t need to apply oil as frequently. Regular rinsing with warm water and mild detergent and an occasional sweep of mineral oil are enough to keep the sheen intact. With proper care, a bamboo board will last at least 10 years.

* * * * * * * *

Plastic and Solid Surface

PROS:

These cutting boards are lighter than wood, generally dishwasher-safe, and kind to knives and will not stain or gouge easily. A solid-surface board (such as Corian) can withstand the heat of a hot pot. Softer plastic (for example, polypropylene) is less durable.

CONS:

There aren’t many downsides to plastic. But even though studies have repeatedly proved that nonporous plastic is better than wood at preventing bacteria growth, you still must be vigilant about sanitizing.

CARE:

Wipe away water as you chop. Afterward, scrub with a nylon brush and hot, soapy water, then rinse and dry thoroughly. Consider buying a board that is labeled “dishwasher-safe” so it will withstand the 140-degree heat of a rinse cycle. This will remove stains and germs embedded in slits and crevices.

* * * * * * * *

Disposable Cutting Sheets

PROS:

These new kids on the chopping block can be thrown out after a single use, so they’re a blessing for picnickers and campers, as well as those who fear E. coli and salmonella.

CONS:

Disposable sheets, made of paper and plastic, can slide around while you’re chopping, and they don’t stand up to heavy-duty jobs, such as cutting up a whole chicken. And like disposable diapers, they aren’t for the environmentally conscious.

CARE: Roll up and toss.

* * * * * * * *

Flexible Cutting Mats

PROS:

These durable, place mat-thin plastic sheets are easy to store and bend, so you can transfer chopped foods without making a mess. Inexpensive and multicolored, they lend themselves to a system: yellow for poultry, green for produce, blue for fish, for example. Since you don’t have to worry about chicken juices contaminating the salad greens, you won’t need to stop and wash as you chop.

CONS:

These mats are too thin and flexible to withstand the dishwasher. Use them on a resilient surface, like a butcher block, Corian, or a laminated counter (not stainless steel or granite), or your knives will take a beating. They are lightweight and may slide around while you cut (a damp paper towel set under the mat will keep it in place). Larger flexible mats—those that are at least 15 by 11 inches—stay put better.

CARE:

Wash well with hot, soapy water. Dry thoroughly and store flat.

Source: Real Simple

Kitchen Utensils Can Spread Bacteria, Study Finds

Expert advises washing knives, peelers between each use on different types of produce.

Kitchen utensils such as knives and graters can spread bacteria between different types of produce, a new study finds.

University of Georgia researchers contaminated different types of fruits and vegetables with bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli. They cut the produce with a knife or shredded it with a grater, then used the unwashed utensils on other produce.

Both utensils spread the bacteria to other types of produce, the study found.

The researchers also found that certain types of produce contaminated knives to different degrees.

“For items like tomatoes, we tended to have a higher contamination of the knives than when we cut strawberries,” said lead author Marilyn Erickson, an associate professor in the department of food science and technology.

“We don’t have a specific answer as to why there are differences between the different produce groups. But we do know that once a pathogen gets on the food, it’s difficult to remove,” she said in a university news release.

Further testing revealed that brushes and peelers also transfer bacteria between produce.

Many people don’t know that kitchen utensils can spread bacteria, Erickson said.

“Just knowing that utensils may lead to cross-contamination is important,” she said. “With that knowledge, consumers are then more likely to make sure they wash them in between uses.”

The study results were published recently in the journal Food Microbiology.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Gadget: Kitchen Knife

Primitive Knife

Italian designer Michele Daneluzzo took inspiration from tools used by early humans when designing this stainless steel knife.

Source: de zeen magazine

Gadget: Cutting Board

Two-sided kitchen utensil. Slice bread on one side, chop meat or vegetables on the other.

Specially milled notches and grooves collect crumbs or residue, prevent flavours from mingling and keep the kitchen clean. Made from solid beech wood, in two sizes.

Source: Ontwerpduo