How to Prevent Kitchen Accidents this Thanksgiving


Nov 1, 2023


Understanding how to prevent kitchen accidents is crucial year-round, but especially during the holiday season. Because of the high volume of cooking and prep work (and distractions!), Thanksgiving is a time of year when the most common kitchen injuries tend to take place. 

So, how can we prevent accidents in the kitchen? Here are some tips for how to prevent kitchen accidents that cause many common Thanksgiving injuries:

  • Practice caution when frying turkey 
  • Make sure your knives are sharpened correctly 
  • Use oven mitts
  • Prepare food to the correct temperature
  • Have a fire extinguisher nearby

Whether you burn yourself with hot oil or get cut by a slippery knife, Complete Care’s 24/7 emergency rooms are here to help you through any emergency. We’re also here to share these important Thanksgiving safety tips to help ensure that you and your loved ones have a safe and healthy holiday, so read carefully before you begin your turkey day prepping and planning! 

Practice caution when frying turkey 

As frying turkey has become all the rage in the past couple of years, practicing proper turkey fryer safety has become all the more important. Deep frying a whole turkey is a great way to get a delicious and juicy bird for Thanksgiving dinner, but it also comes with an increased risk for injuries. After all, dealing with any amount of hot oil can be a recipe for disaster if you’re unprepared or hasty. 

If you’re planning to haul out the deep fryer, here are ways to prevent injuries when frying turkey:

  • Always use a turkey fryer outdoors. Put your fryer at a safe distance away from buildings and other flammable materials.
  • Be sure that the turkey is fully thawed before adding it to the fryer. A partially frozen turkey with any remnants of ice can cause the oil to splash and cause a fire. Frozen birds are a common reason for both oil burn injuries and house fires during the holiday season. 
  • Never leave your fryer unattended. Especially when young children are present. 
  • Wear protective clothing, eyewear, and oven mitts. This should always be observed when dealing with hot oil.

Make sure your knives are sharpened correctly 

What is the most common injury in the kitchen? It probably won’t surprise you that knife cuts and lacerations are the most common kitchen injuries that occur, especially around Thanksgiving. With so much chopping, slicing, and dicing to be done in preparation for your festive meal, people often prioritize speed over safety and end up in a dangerous situation. 

Calm down and take your time whenever you’re handling a knife, and be sure your knives are properly sharpened before you begin your prep work. While it might sound counterintuitive that a sharper knife is a safer knife, using a dull knife requires that you use more force to make your cuts, which makes the knife more prone to slipping and catching. When your knife doesn’t do what you want it to do, and you can’t keep it in your hand, the potential for injury skyrockets.

What should I do if I cut myself?

First, examine the cut. If the cut is less than a ½ inch long and there is minimal bleeding, simply clean the cut and dress it with a bandage. When does a cut need stitches? If the cut is larger than a ½ inch long, won’t stop bleeding after 10 minutes, is on a sensitive area such as your face, or has exposed layers of skin, head to the emergency room as soon as possible for help. 

Use oven mitts

Among all of the chaos that preparing Thanksgiving dinner brings it can be very easy to forget to reach for oven mitts when pulling something out of a hot oven. In fact, the most common hand injuries associated with this holiday are burns from ovens, stoves, or hot oil. Keep a pair of oven mitts near you at all times so they are easy to grab and use, and if you do happen to burn your hands or arms on an oven or hot pan, run the area under cool water for 10-15 minutes to ease the pain. 

The different types of burns

First and second-degree burns can be treated with burn creams, aloe vera, or antibiotic ointment and will typically not require medical attention unless the burn covers more than 2-3 inches of skin. Third-degree burns will have a leathery, white, or charred appearance to them and you may be able to see exposed bones, muscles, and tendons. You also may not feel pain with a third-degree burn as the burn will have likely destroyed your nerve endings. If you think you have a third-degree burn, head to your nearest emergency room immediately. 

Prepare food to the correct temperature

Bringing a dish to Thanksgiving, or preparing the entire meal, can be a daunting and stressful task. With so many ingredients lying around, fresh and raw, accidents can happen resulting in undercooked or contaminated food. Bringing contaminated food to Thanksgiving can cause your guests and family to contract food poisoning, turning dinner into a disaster. 

In our article discussing how to avoid food poisoning, we delve into how to avoid dangerous cross-contamination by ensuring ready-to-eat and raw ingredients are separated, prepared in their own stations, and cooked properly using tools such as a food thermometer to check temperatures. Another Thanksgiving safety tip: it’s also a smart idea to do all of your cooking and prep work in a well-lit area to avoid mistaking one raw ingredient for another cooked one. 

No one wants to be known as the person who gave everyone food poisoning at Thanksgiving, so be sure to practice these cooking safety tips. 

Have a fire extinguisher nearby

When there’s cooking, there’s fire, and when there’s fire, you need to be prepared to put one out. Oven fires are a very common kitchen injury that can result in not only a ruined dinner but also painful injuries and damage to property. If you’re cooking or baking foods at high temperatures, be sure to keep an eye on your oven and what’s inside to make sure nothing catches fire. Try not to leave your oven unattended so that you can act quickly as soon as you see a fire developing.

If you do see flames or smoke coming out of your oven, turn the oven off first and keep the door closed. Then, after a few minutes, grab your fire extinguisher, open the door, and put out the fire. DO NOT use water on an oven fire as it can only exacerbate the situation and create more danger. If the fire goes out successfully, ventilate your home to get rid of any lingering smoke — however, if the fire is rapidly spreading and won’t be put out with your fire extinguisher alone, call 911.

Having a fire extinguisher nearby will be a lifesaver if you do experience an oven fire. If you’re unsure of where your fire extinguisher is, locate it before beginning any cooking or baking in your kitchen.  

Complete Care treats any and all types of kitchen accident injuries 

Now that you have a better understanding of how to prevent kitchen accidents, we hope that your Thanksgiving preparation goes safely and smoothly! This is such a wonderful time of year to spend with your family and loved ones, it’d be a shame if an easily avoidable kitchen accident put a damper on your festivities. 

Accidents happen, whether you’re frying a turkey or cooking ten dishes at once, and you need to know who you can go to for help. No matter what emergency you may face this holiday season, Complete Care is here to take complete care of you. 

We have multiple locations in Texas (Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas/Fort Worth, East Texas, Lubbock, and San Antonio) and in Colorado Springs that are each open 24/7 to treat your injuries. Stop by any time for hospital-grade quality emergency care with low wait times so you can get in, out, and back to cooking — and maybe bring us a little sample of your turkey, just to make sure it’s up to food safety standards, of course.

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