Safety in the Kitchen


The kitchen, with its ovens, burners, and sharp knives is a potential danger zone. Adjusting how food is prepared, cooked, and cleaned up may make the kitchen safer for people with seizures. The tips on this page are examples of ways to make cooking and eating safer. Not all tips will work for everyone. For example:

  • A man with occasional complex partial seizures lives alone. He prepares his food using a food processor and chopper instead of using knives. At times he buys foods prepared in advance so he doesn’t run the risk of injuring himself while cooking. He uses a microwave oven for cooking instead of the stove.
  • A woman who lives with her family has more frequent seizures but never falls and seizures usually don’t cause any change in her awareness. She still prepares food and cooks, but makes sure someone else is in the house when she does. She also avoids using the top of the stove, and lets someone else in the family do cutting and chopping, especially if she doesn’t feel well.  When alone, she may take extra precautions like wearing rubber gloves for cleanup or using unbreakable dishes.

Eating should be a fun and social event. Yet it can also be dangerous if someone had a seizure when food or fluids were in their mouth. A person could choke.  Food or drink could go down the wrong way and end up in a person’s lungs instead of the stomach.  Here’s a few safety tips to keep eating safely...

  • Make sure that caregivers, friends, or family know basic first-aid such as the Heimlich maneuver to assist someone who is choking.
  • Always eat sitting upright.
  • Don’t let a person eat, drink, or try to swallow pills right after a seizure. Make sure they can swallow first.
  • Use chairs with arm-rests to prevent falls.
  • Use nonskid surfaces under plates and cups to avoid spills.
  • Use a bowl or scoop dish if coordination is a problem.
  • Use a cup with a lid and spout (i.e. commuter cup) for hot liquids.

Authored By:

Patty Obsorne Shafer RN, MN
Steven C. Schachter, MD

on Sunday, September 08, 2013
on Thursday, October 24, 2013


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