Toaster ovens are designed to cook toast, pastries and other small baked goods. A toaster uses a lot of electricity to create a lot of heat in a small space, which carries some inherent risk. Modern toaster ovens often have advanced safety features such as automatic shutoffs to prevent the heating element from overheating. Nevertheless, there are still some dangers, particularly with older toaster ovens. Educate yourself about the risks, and never leave a toaster oven unattended.
Like anything else that gets hot, toaster ovens can cause burns. Outside parts of the toaster such as the glass door on rack-style toaster ovens can get hot enough to cause blisters. It is also easy to burn yourself reaching into a toaster oven to retrieve bread or pastries since the area is quite small. Although the burns are generally minor, you should always be careful when operating a toaster oven to minimize the risk.
Fires in toaster ovens can occur for many reasons. If small particles of bread accumulate in the bottom, they can catch fire inside, spreading smoke. If something is left in a toaster oven for too long or on too high a heat setting, it can also catch on fire. Some toaster ovens can catch on fire because of serious design flaws. According to Kirotv.com of Seattle, there have been almost 50 complaints with the Consumer Product Safety Commission regarding Black and Decker Toast-R-Ovens spontaneously catching fire. Other models such as the Toastmaster Toaster have also been reported to catch on fire.
According to Selectsmart.com, there have been numerous reports of Toastmaster toaster ovens exploding. Reports say that when these toaster ovens got too hot, their glass front doors spontaneously shattered, sending hot shards of glass flying several yards.
Toaster ovens and other electric appliances that use heating elements use high-voltage electricity to generate heat. If you come directly in contact with the electricity, you can receive a potentially fatal shock. Never reach into a toaster oven with a knife or fork; if you accidentally bump into the heating element, electricity can travel up the metal object to your arm. Never operate toaster ovens or other electric appliances near water.