KITCHEN CHAOS - Navigating through the most dangerous room in the house

Skin-melting fire, electrical shocks, boiling oil, scalding water, flesh-eating chemicals, poisonous concoctions, razor-sharp knives ... welcome to the "torture chamber" better known as the kitchen.

While the kitchen lures family members with its irresistible aromas, it also is the most dangerous room in the house, according to the National Home Safety Council. One out of 10 Americans suffers injuries in the home each year. The majority occur in the kitchen.

Thankfully, you can take action to reduce kitchen hazards and prevent mishaps. With Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts just around the corner, even more people will be drawn to the kitchen. So let's take a look at some of the dangers and what can be done to counter them.
  • Kitchen fires: Always stay in the kitchen while cooking on the range, especially when frying food. In 75 percent of kitchen fires, no one is there when the fire breaks out. Microwave fires have started because someone pushed 30 minutes when they meant to hit three minutes on the timer and then left the room. Keep the area clean of spills -- especially grease -- which is extremely flammable.
  • Kitchen appliances: Electrical appliances can lead to electrocution or fires as wires get frayed or they are allowed to come into contact with water. Turn appliances off and unplug them when not in use.
  • Burns: Use back burners with pot handles turned in. Keep children and pets away from the range and keep a close eye on them at all times. Beware of loose sleeves and long hair that can go up in smoke. Use dry oven mitts and potholders.
  • Scalding: Each year in the United States alone, more than 100,000 people go to hospital emergency rooms because of a scalding injury. Hot tap water from the kitchen sink can cause these burns. But the more serious injuries are from boiling water splashed or spilled from a pan. Also, boiling water in the microwave can actually cause the water to super heat and suddenly blow up in certain circumstances when you open the door. The best way to prevent that is to cook something -- like a teabag -- in the water.
  • Poisonings: Keep all dangerous products away from food and drinks and lock them up after use. Be especially aware of products with fruit shown on the labels, which could be confused as being edible. Harmful cleaning products under the sink also can be a great danger to children, so it's important to always put child safety latches on every accessible cabinet door.
  • Sharp objects: Dull kitchen knives are actually more dangerous than sharp ones because the worn edge makes it easier for the knife to slip. A knife slip means a nasty cut, stitches or potentially even the loss of one of your treasured digits. Also keep knives out of reach of children. Put them away when not in use, as even bumping them off the counter can lead to a serious gash to the foot. Additionally, don't get distracted while using a blade, and avoid the temptation to "show off" while slicing and dicing.
  • Slips and falls: The kitchen is a busy and sometimes crowded space. It's important to keep work areas clean. Spilled water or grease, as well as dropped eggshells or apples slices, can result in slips, falls and serious injuries.

-- National Association of State Fire Marshals, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Safety Council, National Home Safety Council