Parents teach children not to play with knives because it is dangerous. Children must also learn basic knife safety. Parents should take the time to teach their children the safety rules at an age appropriate time. Here are five tips for teaching your kids to be safe with knives.
Children should learn to never use a knife for anything but its intended purpose. One example is to never use a knife to pry something apart. This is a dangerous action that could end in disaster when the knife slips, resulting in a cut to the fingers or hands.
Teach the child to push away from his or her body. The sharp end of the knife should never point towards the child. When making the slice into an object, the child should push the blade forward in the slicing action. If the knife slips when a child is moving the blade towards his or her body, the child could end up with a nasty cut.
When a child is carrying a knife from one place to another, teach him or her to walk carefully. It is the same general rule as carrying a pair of scissors. The pointy end of the knife should never face towards the child and never pointing straight ahead. Most danger can be avoided if the child is taught to wrap knives in a dish towel prior to moving them from one place to another when the child is younger.
Licking the knife is tempting, but it should never occur. Children are most prone to do this when icing a cake. Instead of using a knife for this task, use a spatula that allows the child to lick the icing off without danger. If possible, offer a spoon tasting to the child as a reward for not licking the knife.
Teach the child to use a fork to hold the item in place rather than his or her fingers. Placing fingers on the object that is being cut places the child at higher risk for cuts. Using a hard object such as a fork will hold the item in place while lowering the risk for harm.
Children can safely use knives for the rest of their lives if taught these few basic rules. Parents often spend a lot of time explaining to children that they should not play with knives. While this is important, parents should also be teaching the basic rules of how to use knives safely. If children are taught well, there is no reason that the child cannot participate in cooking activities involving knives at an appropriate age.