Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 4: Nutrition and Food Service

4.8 Kitchen and Equipment

4.8.0 Microwave Ovens

Microwave ovens should be inaccessible to all children, with the exception of school-age children under close adult supervision. Any microwave oven in use in a child care facility should be manufactured after October 1971 and should be in good condition. While the microwave is being used, it should not be left unattended.

If foods need to be heated in a microwave:

  1. Avoid heating foods in plastic containers;
  2. Avoid transferring hot foods/drinks into plastic containers;
  3. Do not use plastic wrap or aluminum foil in the microwave;
  4. Avoid plastics for food and beverages labeled “3” (PVC), “6” (PS), and “7” (polycarbonate);
  5. Stir food before serving to prevent burns from hot spots.
Young children can be burned when their faces come near the heat vent. The issues involved with the safe use of microwave ovens (such as no metal and steam trapping) make use of this equipment by preschool-age children too risky. Older ovens made before the Federal standard went into effect in October 1971 can expose users or passers-by to microwave radiation. If adults or school-age children use a microwave, it is recommended that they do not heat food in plastic containers, plastic wrap or aluminum foil due to concerns of releasing toxic substances even if the container is specified for use in a microwave (1).
If school-age children are allowed to use a microwave oven in the facility, this use should be closely supervised by an adult to avoid injury. See Standard for prohibition of use of microwave ovens to warm infant feedings.
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Warming Bottles and Infant Foods Plastic Containers and Toys
  1. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), Food and Health Program. 2005. Smart plastics guide: Healthier food uses of plastics for parents and children. Minneapolis, MN: IATP.