man cutting peppers with injured, wrapped fingersWith family in town and everyone crowding the kitchen, preparing meals for the holidays can be quite the undertaking. If you find yourself distracted by a story, the television or something going on in another room, an accident could occur that leaves you in a waiting room when you’re supposed to be celebrating. When you’re in the kitchen this holiday season, prevent injuries by following these safety tips.

Plan in Advance

Do you meal-prep for the week on Sundays? This approach can be taken for Christmas dinner by preparing certain dishes before your family arrives, or in the day or two before the main meal. If you’re planning for a lot of side dishes like mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, or cranberry sauce, save time by making them the night before. This will minimize some of the chaos in the kitchen and give you more time to focus on the meal itself, rather than scrambling to get everything done.

Remove Any Clutter

Having too many tools and appliances out take up valuable counter space and cause numerous safety hazards, from knocking things over to an accidental fire. Before you start preparing and cooking, remove anything you will not need immediately, such as towels, wooden spoons, stand mixers and bowls from your work area. These should all be stored in easily accessible spots in your kitchen for when you are ready, but start with the bare essentials. Gently stack items you have used in the sink or in the dishwasher for cleaning once prep is complete. While you may want to add a touch of festive cheer to your kitchen, make sure any decorations are out of the way and remove candles from the room to prevent fires.

Refrain from Multitasking

With a full house and a huge dinner to prepare, you may find yourself tempted to bounce from task to task. Multitasking leads to most accidents in the kitchen. While you’re cooking, make sure to only focus on tasks in the kitchen. If you are preparing multiple dishes at once, use a three-way cooking timer to keep track of when to check on and remove each from the oven or stove. Do not leave your cooking unattended at any point. Leaving a boiling pot or a cooking turkey on its own can lead to you forgetting about it, burning the food at putting the home at risk of a fire. If you do need to leave the kitchen, bring an item with you like a spoon or a spatula as a reminder to go back and check.

If you find yourself injured due to a kitchen accident, please visit your local AFC Urgent Care center for immediate treatment.