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Is it insane not to have stair-gate thingies on your kitchen during toddler stage?(8 Posts)
Kitchen has two entrances from the house, neither with doors. One side is a playroom, the other is the dining/tv area. (third door goes outside.)
ds (2.3) is obsessed with cooking. Has always been - likes doing dishes and frantic to be picked up to watch me cook. We've made lots of cakes and biscuits together and I've let him bring his little table in to sit at and 'help' (eg hack away at a pepper with a blunt knife, 'peel' carrots, make pizza).
But this week he's figured out the stepstool <siiigh> and been dragging it round to climb on to watch. And taste. And generally explore.
So far I've been able to keep him away from the knives and the hot stuff on the stove, though that is a battle. (Not one I'm willing to concede!) And this afternoon he was experimenting with turning on the (gas) cooker. It's new and has good safety features so I don't think he'll be able to, though I am tempted to take the knobs off.
Is this reasonable? Or am I dicing with death?
We have an open plan kitchen with door onto garden at one end and open to dining room toy zone at the other. I don't yet have gates with my 16mo, and am hoping not to as he is a very curious, observant little boy and loves watching what I do in the kitchen. I just explain when he can and can't be in the kitchen and keep moving him if necessary - I have a rule that he must not be in the kitchen when I am dealing with boiling water or hot fat, and stick to that religiously etc. As he gets bigger (and more capable with stepping stool!), I will start a rule that he cannot be near the stove.
If I need him to be away from the kitchen, I stop what I am doing and move him into the toy zone or garden as many times as necessary to get the message across, and will often give him a carrot or pan or something from the kitchen to play with - my (perhaps naive/foolish) idea is that when he is a bit bigger, I can give him a kitchen 'job' to do for me, well away from the kitchen, while I am doing the more dangerous stuff.
My old neighbours had a 2 year old and 3 year old, and they had taught them not to enter the kitchen in their open plan house without permission. I wouldn't want to do that personally, and it's impractical in our house, but it worked really well for them. They were only able to do that by consistently removing the kids from the kitchen every single time they entered.
I think you just need to have some rules, and be consistent with their application, e.g. you can watch me/help me with preparing the vegetables, but you mustn't be in the kitchen if I have a pan of boiling water or frying things etc.
Ive never had stairgates,plug socket covers or fireguards imvho they arent susbstitutes for supervision.
I think it depends on the set up of your kitchen and the personality of your children. My DS1 was obsessed with opening cupboards and getting things out, and my kitchen is very small so he would constantly be walking past the cooker. I was worried he was going to get hold of the knives and pyrex (nowhere to put them except at a level he could reach), so we got a stairgate. It has worked well for us and now he is at an age (2.10) where I leave it open all the time unless I am cooking at a high temperature or need to have pans boiling at the front.
My friend's DD on the other hand was completely safe as she had no curiosity regarding the contents of the cupboards and even if she had, the kitchen was big enough for my friend to store the unsafe things out of her way.
Be guided by your own instincts.
I did when DD was little because the kitchen was so small she was always at risk or posing a risk any cooking I did with her had to be done at the dining table, she would also sit on the other side of the gate and chop etc as you have described.
We moved when DS was little though and he has always had unrestricted access, I did consider a gate when he made himself some toast aged 22 months (I was otherwise engaged in the bathroom with a tummy bug) but have always reiterated safety and do's and don'ts to be honest he is more careful at 4 than dd is at 9.
My whole house is open plan and I never had any sort of stairgate or barrier to the kitchen. And until DS2 came along (and he's the 3rd child), there was no need for cupboard / drawer locks either because they just didn't go in them. DS2 was a lot more exploratory but I still didn't keep him out altogether, I do think they have to learn (albeit under supervision) what they're allowed to do and what they aren't.
Not mad, but you are goingto have to train him on how to behave.
If he is not trainable yet you may have to gate or keep under constant supervision.
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