Poison Prevention

Keeping Your Little Michelangelo Safe

Image via Wikimedia

What child doesn’t love to draw, paint and color?

Sometimes we forget, however, that art products are a mixture of chemicals that deserve respect and careful handling. 

In 2009, poison centers received more than 35,000 calls about exposures to art products, mostly about children younger than 6. Although few calls resulted in a trip to the doctor, it’s still important to handle art supplies with care: 

  • Follow all instructions on the label.
  • Throw away anything that is past its expiration date. 
  • Don’t eat or drink while using art products. 
  • Wash up – skin, equipment and environment – after use. 
  • Never use products to paint skin or decorate food unless the product is specifically labeled for that use. 
  • Store art products in their original containers locked up and out of the reach of children. 

Many art supplies are imprinted with the seals of the Arts and Crafts Materials Institute. Products with the AP (Approved Product) seal from the Arts and Crafts Materials Institute are best for use by young children. Products with the CL (Cautionary Label) Seal are more appropriate for adults.

If your young artist does chew on a crayon, eat some glue, or splash paint into his or her eyes, help is just a phone call away. Call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 for advice or information.

— Contributed by Evelyn Waring, CSPI and educator, Virginia Poison Center

The American Association of Poison Control Centers supports the nation’s 57 poison centers in their efforts to prevent and treat poison exposures. Poison centers offer free, private, expert medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We take calls in more than 150 languages and from the hearing impaired.

For questions about poison or if you think someone has been exposed to a poison, call 1-800-222-1222 to reach your local poison center.

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