When you begin to design a kitchen, you should keep in mind you will likely use it for many years and your physical limitations may change over time. If you are a baby-boomer, you may have both young kids and older adults living with you or visiting regularly. Consider building safety into your kitchen design and you may prevent a host of accidents. Good kitchen designers will have many ideas on this topic.
When you pick out flooring -- whether it's tile, matte-finished wood or textured vinyl -- ask about its slip-resistant rating. Don't buy materials not indicated for flooring no matter what kind of deal you get. Tell your kitchen designer you want all electrical receptacles grounded and protected with ground-fault circuit interrupters. Consider appliances with smart technology that have lock-out options so no one can use them when you aren't home. Install anti-scald faucet devices or those that can be programmed for temperature by you. Some homeowners prefer cook top configurations that prevent reaching over one burner to grab or stir a pot on another. Avoid swinging doors and counter tops with sharp edges. Consider installing your microwave in a location that will prevent anyone reaching overhead to get out a hot dish. Ask your contractor about other kitchen design ideas that incorporate safety.
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|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|