Every parent knows that as soon as school ends in the beginning of summer, it’s their job to find ways to occupy their kids all day, every day until it starts back up again in the fall. At first, this might seem simple, but you can only take them to the park or the pool so many times before they get bored or you tire out and just give them some coloring tools to keep them occupied while you get some rest.

While arts and crafts can be a rewarding activity for young children, your responsibilities as a parent still apply if you give them materials that could be dangerous to their health if swallowed. In fact, some of the most innocuous arts and crafts supplies are made with chemicals and compounds that could cause life-long health problems if you’re not careful. In the event of a mild poisoning, hurry to your nearest CareWell urgent care center for prompt treatments, though it might be easier to just avoid these three dangerous arts and crafts materials in the first place.

“44% of all poison exposures involve children under the age of 6.”

1. Markers with aniline dyes
According to the National Capital Poison Center, 44 percent of all poison exposures involve children under the age of 6, and 75 percent were precipitated by the swallowing of a dangerous substance. While even one poisoned child is a terrible thing, the media coverage over poisonous arts materials in recent years has led manufacturers to take another look at what goes into their products, and this has resulted in many popular brands of colored markers being made with nonpoisonous ingredients.

However, there are still some marker brands out there that have not made the change. Coloring implements made with aniline dyes, a synthetic compound that gives markers deep and rich hues, can be poisonous if swallowed in large quantities, such as if the felt tip is bitten off and your child inadvertently empties a marker into his or her mouth.

2. Latex- and oil-based paints
What kid doesn’t love a bit of finger painting every now and then? If you stick to water-based paints, you’ll have a summer of fun. However, if you stock your arts and crafts box with latex- and oil-based paint products, you might have a very different summer indeed.

While the worst swallowing water-based paints will do to your children is upset their stomachs, latex- and oil-based varieties contain substances such as glycols and other solvents that are meant to keep the paints cohesive but are indigestible. If enough are swallowed, serious health problems might occur. However, some paints made with acrylics, alkyds and caseins don’t even need to be swallowed to harm your kids. In poorly ventilated areas, simply inhaling the fumes from these paints is enough to cause respiratory and neurological problems.

A fun morning of arts and crafts could turn into a tense afternoon.
A fun morning of arts and crafts could turn into a tense afternoon.

3. Glues
It might seem silly to include something as obvious as glues on this list, but even though common brands like Elmer’s have been scrubbed of their most poisonous ingredients in recent years, many glue products you can find at your average arts and crafts store have not. In particular, the Consumer Product Safety Commission urged parents to avoid glues made with cyanoacrylates, rubber cement and silicone-derived ingredients.

While your kids might have to swallow an entire bottle of glue to show symptoms of poisoning, the mucus membranes of the throat, mouth and eyes are all susceptible to damage as well. That’s why it’s never a bad idea to hop on over to your nearest CareWell urgent care center if you have even the slightest inkling that your child may have been exposed to a dangerous substance.