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Beware the Turkey Fryer and Other Thanksgiving Kitchen Hazards

Even if you aren't normally a modern-day Julia Child in the kitchen, on Thanksgiving most people make an extra effort -- which means you're potentially leaving yourself open to some kitchen dangers as well.

The turkey deep fryer is a great example of a kitchen tool that requires some extra safety precautions. But there are other once-a-year tools that could cause a lot of harm if you're not careful.

During your holiday cooking, take a minute to check out the safety features and instructions for these and other kitchen tools so you can enjoy your meal without a trip to the hospital:

  1. Electric knife. There's a good chance this knife gets taken out for Thanksgiving, and then put away after Christmas where it sits in a box for 11 months. When you take it out, the knife is probably dull which means a greater chance of cutting yourself. Before you use it, get the knife sharpened and review its safety features. If you're not fully comfortable with it, use a different knife.
  2. Grater. A box grater may seem innocent, but all those grater holes are still very sharp and can take off your knuckles or the tips of your fingers. That's not appetizing for guests, and cuts made while handling food can also get infected easily. Get some gloves to protect your fingers, or sacrifice the last inch of what you're grating in the name of safety.
  3. Plugged-in appliances. It doesn't matter how innocent the appliance is, anything with a cord can get frayed, and frayed wires can mean a nasty shock. If the cord is worn out, check the manufacturer's website to learn whether you should keep or throw out the appliance. Don't just try to fix it with electrical tape -- that can mask some potentially bigger problems.
  4. Pyrex and other heat-resistant baking dishes. These dishes are a great workhorse in the kitchen, but they can break at the most inopportune moments. Extreme temperature changes can be a problem, so set them on a towel or pot holder when they come out of the oven and never put them directly on the stove. Not only will you have a mess, you likely won't be entitled to any damages if you sue because that isn't their intended use.
  5. Gas stove. People with gas stoves often brag that they produce more even heat. But they can also be a serious danger if you leave the gas on without a flame. Make it a habit to check that the burners are off when you walk away from the stove, and install a carbon monoxide detector. It could be the difference between a funny holiday story and family tragedy.

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