Britannia News

KITCHEN DESIGN

Top tips for child-friendly kitchens

28TH SEPTEMBER 2012
Do you have young children? Do you worry about their safety in the kitchen? We spoke to three industry experts to get their advice on designing a child-friendly kitchen.

Layout

Garry Milligan, founder of the Federation of Kitchen & Bathroom Designers, says: “The new open plan family living space is multi-functional, and the design must reflect this. Kitchens now need to be not only functional and aesthetically pleasing, but must be family friendly. The door to the kitchen can no longer be closed to keep children away from cooking activity; the door no longer exists in many homes!”

Britta O‘Boyle, Assistant Editor at Kitchens & Bathrooms News, recommends planning the traffic flow in your kitchen to minimise the chances of crossing paths. Where possible, she suggests including an island to reduce the risk of collisions; “Children can be at one side of the island, while cooking and food preparation takes place at the other.”

“Kitchen islands can be super child-friendly zones”, says Miralee Askew, Creative Director at Tapered Edge; “Incorporate a lower section in the island to avoid younger children having to climb too high onto stools.”  She also advises including a seated work surface area, for older children, which can be used for homework, socialising or snacking. Both ideas are great while you prepare meals, enabling you to engage with your children.

 

Miralee Askew Miralee: "Aim for matte surfaces which can conceal the inevitable dirt and grease."



Materials

Miralee advises:  “Corian, Omega and Encore worktop surfaces are stain resistant and provide a softer landing surface for glasses and plates, while stone and wood are very hard wearing and can withstand dents and considerable use.”

She continues: “High gloss surfaces don’t look quite as sleek and stylish if they encounter small, sticky hands - aim for matte surfaces which can conceal the inevitable dirt and grease more effectively. Painted surfaces are easier to retouch and repair if they are damaged and you can always repaint the surfaces with another colour if you desire a change of scheme or wish to create an alternative mood.”

Trends & Décor

Current trends in curved furniture complement child-friendly kitchen designs. Britta advises: “Using curved corner posts minimises the angles of the island. If you don’t have the space for an island, you can use them on end of runs too.”

Miralee echoes the benefits of curved work surfaces – “Curved worktops or soft corner pads are a must in areas where a child might be more likely to bang their head.”

She also advises avoiding bright colours when decorating, as they can quickly date. Instead, she suggests “painting a wall or kitchen cupboard with blackboard paint. Your children will love writing and drawing with different coloured chalks.”

Miralee says: “When my daughters were very young and constantly painting and drawing at home, pre-school or nursery, I invested in some clip frames for their artistic efforts which looked really professional and stylish.”

Appliances

Britta O'Boyle Britta recommends induction hobs as the most child-friendly cooking source.



When choosing a range cooker or hob, induction technology is a good child-friendly option as it removes the issue of a naked flame. Miralee and Britta agree this is the safest, most child-friendly cooking source. Britta says: “Induction works by heating the pan instead of the hob, so it reduces the risk of a child being burnt should they touch the hob.”  Many induction hobs come with added safety features too - such as Britannia’s hobs, which feature a child lock.

Another useful feature Miralee recommends is a refrigerator drawer; so children can help themselves to drinks and healthy snacks without access to the main fridge.  A warming drawer can be helpful too “to keep children’s food warm for when they come home from school, clubs and activities which all occur at different times.”

Activities

To stop children from feeling excluded, Miralee suggests dedicating a kitchen drawer or cabinet to them and filling it with plastic spatulas, measuring cups, napkins, wooden spoons and unbreakable bowls. She says: “My daughters’ drawers were labelled with their names, which they made, that were laminated for durability.”

She added: “We have different coloured recycling compartments in our kitchen too, to foster a keenness for recycling.”

Garry Milligan Garry: "Let children learn to respect the kitchen environment by watching you follow safe procedures"



Garry says: “Let’s encourage our children to cook. Remember the excitement of watching mum mixing ingredients, the delight of licking the wooden spoon, the glorious aroma of a freshly baked cake and the pleasure in placing that cherry right on top? Kids love to be involved, and cookery is a great way of letting their creative juices flow, they will be thrilled to see how the raw ingredients transform into something tasty.”

As Garry says, this is also a great way to help children learn how to fend for themselves in the future; how to appreciate the importance of a balanced diet and how to respect the dangerous tools and implements which need to be used.  He says: “If children see you cutting corners they are likely to follow. Let them learn to respect the kitchen environment by watching you follow safe procedures.”

Do you have a tip for creating a child-friendly kitchen? Which activities do your children enjoy helping with?

 

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