When can you let your child start using a microwave?

Kids love a bit of independence, and making their own meals can get them feeling super grown up - but what's the right age to let them start doing it for themselves?

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You know your child’s getting seriously independent when they’re able to fix their own meals ?

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But when do you reckon that time will come? We’re thinking, specifically, of simple hot meals, that require a microwave – like baked beans or a bowl of soup.

Now, we have to say we know that not everyone uses or has a microwave – quite a lot of the parents we asked about this said they didn’t own one.

But we also know that lots of you do have one and find them handy – especially for re-heating things that don’t get eaten first time around ?

So, for those of you who do have one: at what age would you let your child use a microwave? The most popular answers were:

  • 10 years (24%)
  • 8 (18%)
  • Over 12 (10%)
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When we probed further, lots said they’d be happy for their kids to use the microwave as long as they were supervised or an adult was watching from a bit of a distance, some at a fairly young age.

One respondent, whose child is 6, said: “She does now, under supervision, she warms her bedtime milk.”

Many also pointed out that they’d want to make sure their kids absolutely understood how a microwave works – that you can’t put metal in it, for example, and that bowls and plates can be very hot when they come out. Also, that there can be lots of steam.

“I still have to remind my son NOT to put foil in the microwave,” one respondent said of her 12-year-old boy.

What do the experts say?

We spoke to accident experts RoSPA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) who pointed out that the main issue with children cooking for themselves is around safety.

“It is important to remember that children are particularly at risk of burns and scalds because of their inquisitive nature, so small children should be kept out of the kitchen while cooking,” a RoSPA spokesperson advised MFM.

“An older child should only be cooking hot food with a parent’s permission, and should be aware of the dangers.”

In short, it’s important that you are aware your child’s using the microwave – and that they know exactly what the dangers are.

And as kids (like all of us) sometime forget things, it’s probably worth regular safety reminders.

Here are some of the keywords that came up when we asked our parents about this topic…

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Image: Getty Images

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