Rules for Safe Crafting
Shockless! Working Safely With Electricity
Most of the crafts in this book don't involve the use of power tools, but some may, especially woodworking or advanced glass techniques. Even if you're not using a tool that requires electricity, you may still be plugging in extra lights or simply working around power outlets and switches. We don't want any accidents or injuries here, either! So observe these general safety rules for working with and around electricity and power tools:
Read the manuals that come with any power tools carefully before using them. Make sure you understand how to operate the tool and follow all safety precautions. Explain to your child what you will be doing and keep him clear while you operate the tool. If your child will be operating a power tool, make sure he understands the directions completely.
Before using any power tool, make sure it's up to full operating speed. (Sometimes, when turning the tool on, it takes a few seconds to be rotating [or whatever its function is] at full speed.)
Don't leave power tools unattended. Turn them off and unplug them before leaving the area. If you're done, put them away.
Use all guards and safety devices when using power tools.
Unplug power tools when replacing or adjusting blades or bits.
Never force a tool. If it hangs up while drilling, sawing, sanding, or whatever, remove it and try again. If it still won't do the job, you may need a more powerful tool or a different one.
Don't reach over or behind a cutting blade.
Keep cutting tools sharp. Dull tools can cause injury. Replace blades often.
Be sure power tools are properly grounded.
Never drive nails, staples, or other metal objects through electrical cords.
Be safe with extension cords. Use the right cord size for the appliance or tool you're using, don't curl an extension cord up on the floor, don't wrap it around a nail or tack it up with staples, don't put it where you can walk or trip on it, and don't put anything (boxes, clothing, magazines) on top of the cord.
Be careful of multi-plug adapters. These may overload a circuit and cause a fire if you're using too many tools or appliances on one circuit. Work in an area where there are enough plugs (you may need to think about having more convenient permanent wiring done). If you're going to use a multiple outlet device, use one that's UL-listed and has a built-in circuit breaker.
Make sure there are cover plates on all plug receptacles and switch boxes.
Never try to defeat a circuit breaker by holding it open with tape or other means. Make sure fuses are the correct size for the circuit they protect and do not bypass. Keep the fuse box or circuit breaker box clear of storage and debris.
Water and electricity don't mix. Keep your work area dry. If you're going to be working with water, do it away from electrical outlets, switches, and wires.
Follow these rules yourself and review them with your child and your crafting need never be a shocking experience.
The Heat Is On: Using Care Around Hot Tools and Flame
Glue guns are a particularly hazardous crafting tool — they can cause lots of serious injuries, and even adults need some practice using them. There are so many glues on the market, though, that you can often avoid using the glue gun altogether.
There are some crafts in this book that require the use of a stove or a hot tool like a soldering iron. You'll need to judge if your child is old enough and capable enough to do these crafts safely. You should expect to be supervising your children during these activities at all times, esecially if they're between the ages of 5 and 10.
In the case of handling a hot soldering iron or glue gun, I suggest watching your child practice with it BEFORE you plug it in, to see if it's a comfortable size and to give him a chance to find the proper position for holding it safely. Make sure you also have a place to rest the hot tool when you're not holding it that's out of the way and where it's not in contact with anything that can burn or scorch. You can buy stands to hold tools when not in use, or use a large ceramic tile.
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