Arts and crafts are a staple of interacting with children. With a wide range of potential activities for many ages and skill levels, crafts allow children to express creativity, work on fine motor skills and problem-solving. However, as with most children’s activities, it is worth considering potential hazards and risks before engaging in certain crafts.
Sharp objects always pose a potential danger to crafters. While even experienced crafters can cut or nick themselves, younger children are much more prone to accidents. Knives, razors, X-Actos and even scissors are all things to watch for. Young children can be given rounded edge scissors if cutting paper but should be kept away from knives and blades. Older children, generally around the ages of 6 or older, may engage in crafts like model building which require sharp tools. Parents should teach proper techniques such as cutting away from the body before allowing children to use sharp tools. Do not hesitate to use technology such as YouTube videos to help teach children proper knife safety techniques. Lastly, ensure a stocked first-aid cabinet in the event of a cut, and seek medical attention for deep wounds.
Fire poses danger not just for an individual but also for entire structures. For this reason, crafts involving the use of fire should be carefully monitored by an adult. Some of the most painful and common ailments children can experience are fire-related injuries. Using the stove and oven are frequent causes of burns among children, and using craft tools such as torches can also be problematic, especially with smaller children. Proper adult supervision must always be employed, along with strong education and reinforcement of the dangers of fire and extreme heat. First aid supplies for burns include topical creams or sprays, cold packs, gauze and dressing. This should be sufficient for most small burns, but burns that cover more than 2 inches or burns that are not healing should be seen by a doctor.
Children, especially younger ones, are known to taste and eat many things that an adult would know to avoid. Small children should be given non-toxic options such as Play-Doh, basic white glue or glue sticks. Avoid rubber cement or glue that smells harsh. For older kids engaging in projects that may require chemical reactions, research potential issues beforehand and take precautions. Keep the number to poison control handy in case anyone ingests something that may be toxic so that you can quickly act and get help.
Crafts are important for children of all ages. Developing their sense of creativity, artistic abilities and working on their motor skills help children learn and grow. The important thing is to consider safety risks, and match activities to be age-appropriate. Introduce new crafts and use them as learning opportunities to practice safety skills and set your children up for success.
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