Rules for Safe Crafting
Although most of the basic rules for working with art and crafts materials just seem like common sense, they bear repeating. Remember, too, that things you take for granted might not be obvious to a young child. Take some time before beginning a project or learning a new craft to review both basic safety procedures and those specific to the craft you're doing.
First, observe these general rules:
Read directions thoroughly before beginning any project. That includes both the directions for the project and any labels on products you may be using. Always read labels! Check expiration dates, too.
Make sure you have all the materials you need in one place. Accidents can occur when you're hurriedly looking for something or leave the room to get something you've forgotten.
Arrange all your tools near you. Spreading things out in a semi-circle usually works well.
Make sure you have enough room to work safely and efficiently. Cramped spaces can be dangerous.
Always have adequate ventilation when working with chemicals or projects that produce dust.
Protect your pets and keep them away from the crafts area while you're working.
Don't leave young children unattended with dangerous tools or toxic materials even for a few minutes.
Don't eat, drink, or smoke while using art and crafts materials.
Don't use dyes or paints on the skin (for face painting, for example) or in food, unless the products you buy are specifically meant to be used that way.
Don't transfer materials to other containers, since you'll lose the information you need provided on the package. If you must, be sure to cut out the important information and include it in the container.
Use the right equipment for the job and make sure tools and equipment are in good working order. Don't work with questionable tools, especially power tools. If the cord is frayed or something else doesn't seem right, fix it or replace the tool.
Keep your work area clean and continue picking up as you go along. Don't leave scraps of material or tools lying around.
Keep your work area dry. Water on the floor, counter, or table can be an electricity hazard or cause a fall. Make sure you have an up-to-date, complete first-aid kit on hand.
Wash your hands after crafting.
Don't hurry. Make sure you have adequate time to do a project before starting it.
Don't work when you're tired.
Minimize distractions. Turn off the TV or the radio if it's distracting. Safety requires concentration.
Now that we've covered the general rules for safe creating, let's move on to some more specific safety features.
Eyes and Ears: Protecting Your Sight and Hearing
During crafting or any activity, if the noise level is uncomfortable, chances are you're risking hearing damage and should be wearing ear protection.
When it comes to the precious gifts of sight and hearing, it's better to be extra-cautious than risk injury, so make frequent use of eye and ear protection when crafting.
You can buy a good pair of safety glasses or goggles at any hardware store. Make sure they fit your child properly and comfortably, so he's not tempted to take them off. Keep them clean and store them properly, so they won't get scratched and impair vision. Use safety goggles to protect eyes from dust, stray particles, chemicals, and anything that might possibly fly up and hit the eye.
Adults with hearing loss can often trace the cause back to repeated exposure to loud noises when they were younger. In most cases, hearing loss can easily be prevented with inexpensive hearing protection.
The amount of protection might vary depending on the noise level, but since you probably won't be using heavy power tools around your child, simple foam earplugs will usually do the trick.
More on: Crafts for Kids
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crafts with Kids © 1998 by Georgene Lockwood. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.