Arts and crafts are an inspiring, relaxing and fun way to spend time with your kids. However, some of the materials and tools used in these projects can be hazardous. These steps can help you ensure that the products, tools and techniques you use are appropriate and safe for you and your kids.
Adult supervision is required for any arts or crafts project. Close observation and intervention helps prevent safety problems and ensures appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Avoid small parts for projects involving kids younger than three. No sharp points should be around kids younger than four. Read product instructions and safety warnings once to yourself and then aloud with kids. Gather everything needed for the project so you don’t have to leave the kids unsupervised. Look into the potential hazards of any tool or supply before starting a project.
There are dozens of creative arts and crafts ideas to do with your kids, including homemade gifts, holiday ornaments, home decorations and more. Read the project’s instructions to determine what parts will require your assistance. Stay with your kids and enjoy the fun time together. The benefits of crafts include improved math skills, enhanced reading and writing and development of creativity.
Select age-appropriate crafts. Not all crafts are right for all children. Follow the age grading that is recommended for each craft or stated on the product packages, but use your child’s development and skills to decide if the project can be done safely.
Eyes and Ears
Use eye and ear protection that fits your kids. Goggles and ear plugs help protect from dust, loud noises, chemicals and other hazards.
Dust and fumes from art and craft materials can pose inhalation risks. Materials posing these risks include chalk, ceramic glaze, paints, markers and more. Use proper ventilation or do the project outdoors.
Some arts and crafts materials damage the skin by causing cuts, irritations, allergic reactions, and burns. Scissors, hot glue guns and solvents can cause these injuries. Wear protective clothing on your hands, body and head.
Accidental ingestion of hazardous materials can happen to artists of any age, although kids are at a higher risk. Turpentine, paints and pigments can all be toxic.
Whenever you child’s involved, do your research, read the labels carefully and follow instructions – whether you’re buying toys or materials and tools for fun arts and crafts projects – your child’s safety always comes first. Do not use materials for unintended purposes. Choose safer materials whenever possible, but store all materials away from kids and pets. Keep materials in original containers to maintain full instructions. Never mix chemicals or leftover items. Find out how to dispose of unusable leftovers. Avoid using any materials containing lead. Lead poisoning is a serious health issue, especially for children or women who are or could become pregnant. Any material containing lead is considered to be hazardous waste and requires special disposal for safety.
Use an adequate ventilation system for projects that produce fumes, vapors or dust. Even materials that are safe in small quantities may be harmful in large quantities. Dust from treated wood or dry clay can be harmful even in small quantities. You need a system that works two ways by taking out old air and bringing in fresh air. An open window may be enough. Remember to clean the work area after you’re finished with the project. A wet mop or vacuum can be used to clean up fine particles.
Good health and safety habits can be formed at any time and no one is too young to be safe when enjoying a fun craft project. Today’s safety and labeling laws are designed to ensure art and craft products marketed for children are safe when used as intended. Anyone who purchases art supplies for kids should read the labels and safety warnings to ensure that the materials are appropriate and safe. The use of appropriate safety gear is also important and should be modeled by all participating adults.
Patricia Dimick is a Denver based freelance writer and a fun stay-at-home mom. This passionate coffee drinker loves to write about parenting topics and enjoys DIY projects. Patricia spends her free time playing table tennis or enjoying trips to nature with her precious daughter and loving husband. You can reach her on Twitter @patricia_dimick, or find her on Google+, Facebook or Pinterest
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