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Microwave Oven Safety

With busy lives, families rely on the microwave oven as a quick way to heat up a snack, warm up a drink or defrost dinner. While microwave ovens are convenient, it is important not to ignore the necessary safety precautions. According to the National Fire Protection Association, scald burns are the leading cause of injury from microwave ovens. Follow these simple safety tips to prevent painful burns and possible fires in your home.

Safety Tips

  • Purchase a microwave oven with the label of an independent testing laboratory. Make sure to complete and return the product registration card. This way the manufacturer can reach you if there is a recall on the product.
  • Plug the microwave oven directly into the wall outlet—never use an extension cord.
  • Make sure the microwave oven is at a safe height, within easy reach of all users.
  • Open food slowly, away from the face. Hot steam or the food itself can cause burns.
  • Food heats unevenly in microwave ovens. Stir and test before eating or giving eating or giving to children.
  • Never heat a baby bottle in the microwave. Since a microwave oven heats unevenly, it can create hot pockets, leading to burns. Warm a bottle in a bowl of warm—not hot or boiling—water, or by running it under the tap.

 Microwave Use

  • Always supervise children when they are using a microwave oven.
  • Use only microwave-safe food containers or dishes. Never use aluminum foil or metal in a microwave oven.
  • If you have a fire in the microwave, leave the door closed, turn the oven off and unplug it from the wall. If the fire does not go out, get outside and call the Fire Department.


Learn more about fire and injury prevention at NFPA.org/education.