How to Safely Use an Oven While in a Wheelchair

Despite ovens being less active than a stovetop—you’re not actively stirring boiling hot liquids inches from your face—there’s still several hazards you’ll need to be aware of.

Be Aware of Your Space

Working with the oven means keeping one or more of your hands busy with keeping screaming hot things off of your body. With your hands occupied, it’s going to be really difficult to move or pivot your chair. So, you need to be aware of the space around the oven and what you might be able to use as a handle‐hold to pivot and turn as needed. I usually end up using the door handle of the fridge, the lip under the counter‐top, or the corner of the kitchen island (if there is one).

You should also practice turning your chair with just your hips. You should be able to complete a half‐circle in just a few rotations. If you’re chair is struggling to make the turn, it might be time to clean out our front casters

Understand the Weight and Bulk of Dishes

Baking sheets are wide and not well balanced. Casserole dishes are heavy and hard to lift. You need to be aware of how much each type of container weighs—empty and full—in order to safely move them to and from the oven. If you struggle to put it into the oven, you’re going to struggle to take it out of the oven (also, it’ll be basically on fire).

Always Use an Oven Mitt

You should always use an oven mitt or pot holder when taking things in and out of the oven, even if they’re not hot. Oven mitts and pot holders change the strength and effectiveness of your grip, so you should use one before everything is dangerously hot so you have an idea of what you’re going to have to deal with once your food is done.

Wrist Control!

Unless you have a really weird kitchen setup, you’re gonna end up moving most things in and out of the oven one‐handed. So, you‐ll need to make sure you have the wrist and forearm strength to balance (hot) dishes as you move them to the stovetop— usually between 3 and 10 pounds depending on what kind of container you used.

If the container is too heavy to lift out, slide the oven rack forward until you can reach it with both hands. Then, gently transfer the dish to the oven door, reposition your grip, and raise the dish onto the stovetop. You should do this as quickly as possible: oven doors aren’t meant to hold a lot of weight.

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