Preventing burns from cooking and hot food

The heat produced by cooking appliances and by what is being cooked is a source of danger.

Never cook while holding your baby or child.

Cookers, stove tops and hobs

You should keep your child away from cookers when in use. Teach them why this is important. Children do not understand danger. You will need to supervise them at all time.

Be mindful of children if you are moving things from the cooker to another surface.

Use cooker guards for protection.


Always cook on back rings first, with handle of the saucepan or frying pan turned in. This will help prevent children from reaching up and grabbing a pot or pan.

If using the front rings, keep handles of saucepans turned towards the back so they are not so easy to reach. Switch the rings off after use.

To prevent fire, make sure gas cooker burners are in good working order.

Keep items away from cooker rings that could go on fire. These include:

  • curtains
  • towels
  • oven gloves

Use a cooker or stove guard

This creates a physical barrier or guard at the front of the hob. It helps to stop your child touching hot areas.

Block off an area around the cooker

Think about marking an area around the cooker where you child is not allowed to go. Use coloured tape to make a rectangle on the floor in front of the cooker. Tell children they are not allowed to enter that area.


Check the outside of your oven when it’s at roasting temperature. Make sure it's only warm to the touch, not hot. If it does become too hot, install a safety gate at the kitchen when you are cooking.

Be careful opening the door of a hot oven. Hot air will escape and this can burn.

Always turn off the oven when cooking is finished.

Other cooking appliances

Keep microwaves, slow cookers and all other appliances out of children’s reach.

Chip pans

Avoid using chip pans – they are a fire risk. Instead, buy chips that you can cook in an oven.


Keep children well away from barbecues (BBQs). Your child could get burned. Barbecues are also a fire hazard.

Hot food

Always allow hot food to cool down before giving it to your child. Stir the food carefully. Be aware that some parts may be hotter than others.

Test the temperature of the food in your own mouth before giving it to your child.

Related Content

Child safety checklist for parents including child-proofing (PDF, 5.32MB, 2 pages)

Use the HSE's child proofing check list to help you child proof your home to protect your children. This list is also available from your public health nurse.

Child safety wallchart for parents including basic first aid (PDF, 3.22MB 4 pages)

Print this child safety wallchart and keep within easy access in your home. Includes tips on child safety, first aid information and emergency contact details.

Page last reviewed: 28 March 2019
Next review due: 28 March 2022