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Back to School: Use arts and crafts materials safely

Just because you can buy arts and crafts materials in stores doesn’t mean they are free from health and safety hazards. Some of these materials can be dangerous if you do not follow all of the safety instructions on the product label.

Health risks

The most common health hazards from working with arts and crafts materials are cuts from knives or scissors. But some materials can also burn or irritate your skin and eyes, cause toxic dust or fumes, or be poisonous if swallowed or inhaled.

These dangers are even greater for young children, who are smaller, naturally curious and have a habit of putting things in their mouths. It is important to keep materials not intended for children out of their sight and reach. For young artists, buy only materials that are specifically designed to be used by children, and supervise their use.

Safety tips for children

  • Supervise children when using arts and crafts materials.
  • Buy kid-friendly products. Choose products labeled for children’s use.
  • Keep materials in their original containers. This way, you can refer to label instructions and emergency advice later.
  • Follow safety instructions. Always follow the safety instructions on the label.
  • Do arts and crafts in a well-ventilated area.

Safety tips for adults

  • Learn proper techniques. Learn all you can about the materials and techniques you are using. Take classes or ask an experienced professional.
  • Follow safety instructions. Read and follow the safety instructions on the label of your arts and crafts materials every time you use them.
  • Know emergency numbers. Keep the phone number of your nearest Poison Control Centre handy so you can call right away for advice if there is an emergency.
  • Don’t eat or drink. Keep arts and crafts materials away from food and drink.
  • Wash up. Wash your hands (and clothing, if needed) after you finish working.
  • Store carefully. Store hazardous materials out of the sight and reach of children and pets.

For more safety tips, visit:

Health Canada
Communications and Public Affairs Branch
Ontario Region