Before embarking on any labs around your kitchen table, it is REALLY important to go over the Lab Safety Rules with your kids. Stress that if they’re going to be old enough and mature enough to use real chemicals, they have to behave maturely and use them properly.
- Chemical or splash safety goggles are a must-have. Anytime the kids use liquids, powders, or chemicals of any kind, the goggles should be on.
- Lab coats. Lab coats on kids aren’t just cute, but they’re an essential part of any lab or experiment. Lab coats don’t just protect clothing from spills and stains, they protect arms and legs, too.
- Close-toed shoes are also a good idea, to protect feet from spills.
- Hair that is to the shoulder or longer should be tied up.
- Disposable gloves are a great thing to have on hand. Inexpensive and available in sizes small enough for kids, these are economical and an important part of any lab.
- NEVER eat, drink, or taste any chemicals, liquids, powders, or other materials used in any lab or experiment.
- No eating or drinking around lab equipment or chemicals. No water bottles, open snacks, etc. should be anywhere near your lab or experiment.
- Kids should be taught how to waft and should be instructed NOT to put their nose to a chemical or substance to smell it. To waft, hold the container with the chemical (or solution, or powder, etc.) away from you with one hand. With the other hand, make a sweeping motion above the container to gently push the air toward your face to smell it. Here’s a quick video that shows how to properly waft. Notice he’s wearing goggles! Goggles should always be on while wafting.
- If anything breaks, call an adult. Kids should never deal with broken glass.
- Wear disposable gloves when dealing with any substances, no matter how safe you think they are.
- Clean spills up right away with plenty of paper towels.
- Use common sense!
- Parents – always carefully supervise your kids when they’re doing any lab or experiment. Don’t leave the room while they’re working on the lab or experiment, and give them your full attention!
- Always be familiar with the hazards of any materials you’re working with.
- Be safe, and have fun!