Cooking safety for the holiday season

2017-12-19 06:00

THE holidays are coming up and this means that families will get together to celebrate.

Some of us may have to cook up a storm for our guests and ER24 advises people to remember safety when doing so.


• You may be in a rush considering the number of things you have to get done before your guests arrive. When cooking, ensure pot handles are turned inwards to avoid accidental pulling over.

• Keep a fire blanket nearby to smother the area should a pot fire occur. Alternatively, keep a damp towel close by.

• Be cautious when walking around with knives and hot spoons.

• Remember just like everything else, being intoxicated while cooking is not a good idea.

• Place hot food in the centre of the table.

• Always have an adult present when young children are around the table especially with the presence of hot food and glass dishes. Place anything sharp away from children. Also keep everything a child needs close to them for easy reach.


• It is important to know what allergies, if any, your guests have. Allergies, if serious, could have your guests rushing to the emergency room. It is a good idea to let people know what you put into your food so they know whether they can or cannot eat it.

• Allergy symptoms include itchiness, swelling that can lead to difficulty in breathing, dizziness, blurred vision and a rash.

• If a person is having difficulty in breathing contact 084 124 immediately.


When planning for young children, be wary of anything small enough to swallow without chewing. Also do not give them anything that is too hard, stringy or sticky to eat as this could lead to choking.

If an adult or child above the age of one chokes and they are conscious but unable to cough or talk and confirm they are choking, conduct abdominal thrusts known as the Heimlich manoeuvre - put a clenched fist slightly above the person’s navel and well below the ribcage, thumb facing towards your patient’s abdomen. Grab your fist with your other hand and press with a quick upward thrust until the object is expelled.

Do not be too forceful when conducting abdominal thrusts on a child as it could lead to injury. If the person becomes unconscious, perform CPR.

Make sure the person is lying on a hard, flat surface. Lock your knuckles by placing the palm of one hand on the back of the other and folding the fingers of the top hand down or inwards. Place locked hands, palms down, in the middle of the person’s chest. Press down in the centre of the chest, about five to six centimetres and at 100 - 120 compressions per minute, until help arrives.

If an infant under a year old is choking, assume a seated position and perform five back blows followed by five chest thrusts. Put the infant face down over your forearm (fore-arm supported by your thigh). Ensure that the infant’s head is lower than their torso. Also ensure that the infant’s head and neck is supported with one hand.

Using the heel of your palm of your other hand, press the infant gently but firmly on the middle of the back between their shoulder blades.

If the object does not dislodge, turn the infant face up while supporting their head. Ensure that the infant’s head is lower than their torso.

With two fingers, give up to five chest compressions on the centre of the infant’s breastbone, the same position where you would perform CPR. Repeat the back blows and chest thrusts until the object is dislodged or the infant stops responding. If the airway is open but the infant is not breathing, begin CPR. Remember to call emergency services.

ER24 can be contacted for any medical emergency on 084 124. - Supplied.


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