Let’s make no bones about it.
Disposing of waste, particularly of food waste, is a task no one looks forward to doing – if it can be helped.
Disposing of food waste is a terribly messy affair that is not just stinky, but also not without its environmental ramifications – such as ending up being burnt, buried in overstuffed landfills, and damaging the ecology.
Plus, it’s just plain icky.
Thanks to the wonders of 21st century technology, handling food waste is no longer a chore – with the advent of the garbage disposal that you simply pop in your kitchen sink to take care of your solid food waste.
These bad boys work extremely well for food disposal, but it must be noted that there are certain restrictions as far as what kind of waste garbage disposals can manage.
But in order for us to go over how you could childproof your garbage disposal, let’s first discuss what these machines actually are.
What is a garbage disposal?
For the benefit of those who aren’t familiar with a garbage disposal, it is a grinding machine that is installed on the drainage of your sink. You feed it with food waste, and the garbage disposal unit shreds it to pieces with extremely sharp blades, and subsequently wash it down with water. Think of it as a paper shredder that you fit into your sink’s drainage hole that takes care of your food waste.
Garbage disposals come in two main models:
- Continuous-feed. These garbage disposal units are automated and will keep running until you switch them off. Just keep the water running and throw extra food in, and it will all be grinded to waste.
- Batch-feed. With batch-fed units, on the other hand, flipping a switch is not enough. You also have to make sure that a cover (aka stopper) is in place to make it do its job.
Both garbage disposals achieve their ends in the same manner – only difference being the way they are operated.
Read more: https://allthestuff.com/garbage-disposals/
Potential risks to your children
Garbage disposals are not without their safety risks – especially if you have young children running around the house. Not only do these risks affect children, they can affect anyone who doesn’t take the appropriate safety precautions and best practices around these devices.
Here are some of the most common health and safety risks that garbage disposals pose to kids and adults alike:
- Garbage disposals work with water and electricity, apart from generating its own hums and rattles as they work. Over time, and with regular wear and tear, its electrical wiring can be damaged and can pose electrocution risks for both kids and adults.
- Wounds/cuts. This would probably be the most obvious risk for children – it’s so easy for them to stick their fingers in the sink if left unattended. Even when garbage disposals are turned off, their razor-sharp blades can pose a risk to your child.
- Unsupervised children can and have been maimed by garbage disposals before. And it will continue happening if they remain unattended to.
- Plumbing/septic tank issues. Most of what goes into the garbage disposal is organic waste, so use over time may pose a septic tank overload issue, which in turn can leach into your water (and cause illness to your entire household).
Basic safety considerations
Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: garbage disposals need to be handled in an appropriate manner and you should take the necessary precautions above all else. That becomes even more obvious when you have children in the house, as this machine’s blades will cause serious injuries.
In the case of clogging, make sure to turn off the garbage disposal’s power source before you attempt to remove any blockages and wear the appropriate protective gear (e.g. gloves) as necessary.
That’s par for the course if you have children in the house – make sure to never let your children operate the device by keeping switches, buttons, or any of its parts as far away as you can as possible.
Tips to protect your children
We all want the convenience of a garbage disposal – but without the serious risks that they may pose to children. This is why we came up with 6 safety tips to ensure that your garbage disposal is child- (and adult-) friendly.
- If you have young children, make sure to have a batch feed system installed. Period. At young age, kids play around wherever and whenever they like, and they won’t remember your warning speech if they accidentally throw their favorite marble in the sink. The only way to be really safe is with a batch feed garbage disposal, as these need to be covered in order to operate.
- If you have a continuous garbage disposal system and young kids, change it to a batch feed system. See above. Sorry to reiterate, but this too important.
- With older kids and continuous feed garbage disposals, make sure that the switch is totally out of reach from your child’s grasp. That way you can prevent debilitating injuries 99% of the time – the final 1% will have to come from convincing warnings.
- Always go for a garbage disposal with a switch. Controlling them with a push button is too dangerous.
- Never attempt to fix the device with wet hands and never attempt to fix the device around your children because it may cause electrocution.
- With septic tanks, especially, make it a habit to check your plumbing (or hire a plumber) to ensure everything is running smoothly and that it isn’t overloaded.
- Always, always, ALWAYS keep an eye on your children when they’re in the kitchen. Not just to check on garbage disposal usage, but also for your santoku knife collection and other fancy kitchen gadgets.
As long as you inspect your device regularly, ensure that it is in good working condition, and follow our guidelines above, you can use a garbage disposal safely.
With children it’s really simple. Just keep your garbage disposal away from their reach (as much as possible) and prevent them from operating the disposal, and you’ll have a hassle- and worry-free home.