Cooking Dangers: 1-Year-Old Baby Girl Severely Burned By A Slow Cooker
"The Crock Pot was still plugged into the island, and she got over there and pulled it down..."
A mum has warned about slow cooker dangers after her baby girl got severely burned when she pulled the appliance off the counter.
Mum’s warning about slow cooker dangers
Mummy Vanesa Herrera from Oklahoma, US, shared about the terrible incident which happened on 18 September 2018, when she was cooking dinner.
Apparently, the usual practice was to place 1-year-old, Azra, in a high chair and give her a snack while Vanesa made dinner.
But on that ill-fated evening, Azra was in her walker and moving around.
And then, horror happened.
“The Crock Pot was still plugged into the island, and she got over there and pulled it down.”
“In an instant, everything just kind of changed,” Herrera told news station KFOR.
The super hot juice from the meat cooking inside the slow cooker spilled out onto the left side of the child’s body and face, leaving her with second degree burns.
The child was rushed to hospital, and had to be treated there for weeks. Thankfully, she has now returned back to her happy, playful self.
Mummy Vanesa is now warning all other parents to keep an eye on their little ones when they are near household appliances.
“You never think it could happen to you…and you hear that a lot but, when it does happen to you, there’s just no words to really describe the feeling,” she says.
Slow cooker dangers: Some safety tips
Slow cookers make a busy working mum’s life much easier. You just throw your ingredients inside, set the dials, and return a few hours later to a fully cooked meal.
Slow cookers also run on very low wattage, allowing you to cook a meal over an 8-10 hour period of time. Hence the risk of fires is very low. Although the base does heat up, the product is designed to not get so hot that it’ll set a countertop on fire.
However, do follow these safety tips when using slow cookers:
Keep and store your slow cooker on a flat, stable surface
The surface should be flat and hard (preferably, a granite or tiled surface), so there’s no risk of the slow cooker falling over or spilling.
There shouldn’t be anything underneath it, and be sure it’s nowhere near your sink or cooktop.
You should also keep the power cord away from the edges of their surface areas.
Keep it away from the walls
It is recommended that you keep your slow cooker at least 6 inches from a wall or any other kitchen appliance. The chord should also be kept away from the walls.
Also, make sure the exterior isn’t close to flammable items like towels, curtains, or cooking oil.
Unplug the slow cooker when you’re not cooking
Inspect the cord every time you use your slow cooker
Watch out for exposed wires. If you spot them, stop using the appliance immediately. Also, keep the cord away from any liquids.
Never immerse the base of a slow cooker in water.
Don’t use the slow cooker over direct heat.
Temperature extremes can cause the stoneware insert to crack, so you shouldn’t freeze it or use it over direct heat, like a stovetop.
Be careful when using older, hand-me-down appliances
Older models may not have today’s advanced safety features. Be alert to warning signs – if you feel that the exterior of your slow cooker feels hotter than it should when in use, unplug it right away and stop using it.
Keep your slow cooker on a low heat
If you’re planning to leave your slow cooker on overnight, make sure it’s set to be on a low heat across an eight-hour period.
Never fill the container more than two-thirds full
Also, keep the lid on throughout the cooking process to maintain ideal cooking conditions inside the container.
You should periodically test the cooker to make sure the unit heats correctly and is able to cook food to a proper serving temperature.
Ideally, food should cook to at least 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) within four hours to avoid harbouring bacteria.
To test your slow cooker, fill it one-half to two-thirds with water, cover it with the lid, and cook on the low setting for eight hours.
Then, use a food thermometer to monitor the water temperature before it cools. If the temperature is 85 degrees Celsius (185 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher, the slow cooker is safe to use.
A lower temperature may indicate that the heating element isn’t functioning well enough to cook food thoroughly.
You should use a slow cooker only for cooking — never for reheating.
Also, make sure you thaw all frozen meat before putting it in your slow cooker.
Safety tips to prevent burns in children
This incident is a reminder for us parents to be extra careful when handling hot things around the little ones. These safety tips must be practised at all times:
- Check water temperature before bath
Always check the temperature of bath water with your hand before putting your child in the bath.
- Avoid hot drinks around the child:
Don’t cook, drink or carry hot beverages or foods while holding a child.
Keep hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges. Don’t use tablecloths or placemats, which young children can pull down.
Turn the handles of your pots and pans toward the rear of the stove and use back burners when possible. Don’t leave the stove unattended when you’re cooking.
- Restrict your toddler’s access to these areas
Block access to the stove, fireplace, space heaters and radiators. Don’t leave a child unattended in a room when these items are in use.
- Keep hot devices out of reach
Be careful with heating appliances like iron box etc. Keep them unplugged when not in use, and out of reach.
- Test food temperature before feeding young children
Be careful with food or liquids warmed in a microwave, which might heat foods unevenly.
Never warm a baby’s bottle in the microwave.
What to do in case of burns
Mums and dads, if (God forbid) your baby gets scalded, here is what you need to do:
- Immediately put the burned area in cool — not cold — water or under a faucet. Keep the injury in water for at least 5 to 15 minutes. Do not use ice.
- If the clothing is stuck to the skin, do not attempt to peel it away.
- Cover the burn by using nonstick gauze or a clean cloth.
- If the burn is mild, you may put on antibiotic ointment. Don’t put butter, grease, or anything else on the burn, and do not pop any blisters.
- Give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve pain if your child is aged 6 months and older. Follow the dosing instructions on the bottle. Consult a paediatrician first if your child has never taken this medication before.
- Take your child to the doctor if the burn is oozing or seems infected (red, swollen, tender).
- Seek medical attention immediately if:
- The burned area is charred or white.
- Electric shock or chemicals caused the burn.
- The burn is on the face, hands, feet, genitals, or a joint.
- The burn covers 10% or more of the body.
(Source: Oklahoma’s News 4)