The needs of children can be easy to overlook when designing a new kitchen. If you are contemplating a remodel and you have small children or grandchildren you should think about ease of maintenance, user friendliness and above all safety.
Beware of sharp points. Soften sharp corners on countertops with angles or curves. Remember, if it’s at your hip level, it’s at a child’s head level.
Don’t place glass doors below the counter, where small ones can break the glass. Even if you use glass door inserts for upper cabinets be sure to use tempered glass which will cost a little more but won’t shatter in the event of breakage.
Also avoid open display shelves below the counter. It’s an invitation to curious toddlers,making them more trouble than they’re worth (the shelves, that is).
Vinyl or wood flooring are kinder on the chef’s legs and feet—and on falling children.
Select finishes that are easy to clean. Stainless steel is not kid-friendly, as it easily shows the little ones’ fingerprints and smudges. However if this is the look you want consider using a model such as the GE CleanSteel which has a stainless-steel look that, unlike true stainless, resists fingerprints and accepts magnets. Kenmore, Whirlpool and LG also make similar models.
A lower cabinet devoted to storing plastic cups, bowls, lunch boxes, snacks or other items that your children need to get to on their own is a great kid-user idea. A lightweight stool that is easily accessible can make all the difference when it’s time to reach the counter. You can even install a step stool in the toekick space under a cabinet. However, if bending to access your stool doesn’t appeal to you check out the Ultraslim Aluminum Step Stool from Williams-Sonoma. It is lightweight, has plastic feet to protect floors and opens with a fingertip push. Best of all it folds to a mere 1 ¾” deep for easy storage.
Last but not least don’t forget you can install locks on cabinets that are off limits as well as safety covers on electrical outlets. Next post: English charm in Palm Beach
Photo from PLUS IT! Family Activities for Kids: Promote Learning, Family Literacy