Lab Safety Rules for Kids

ScienceStruck Staff Oct 27, 2018
A laboratory comprises a lot of chemicals and instruments that can cause harm to children if used incorrectly. Therefore, there are some safety rules which children should follow while working in the laboratory.
The laboratory is always perceived as an exciting place by kids. It gives them a chance to discover the magic of science. However, it can be a dangerous place if proper care is not taken. Hence, it is very important to make them understand the dos and don'ts in a laboratory, and explain the consequences of not following these rules.
There are a lot of mishaps that can take place in a science lab. Flamable liquids resulting in a fire breakout could be one of them. Chances of chemicals splashing into the kids' eyes is also quite possible. As a majority of the laboratory equipment are made up of glass, breakage of glass, causing injuries is quite likely.
Most of the appliances in a laboratory, work on electricity. If water or any liquid is poured on a wire, it can result in a short circuit, which can also lead to a fire break out. In order to prevent such happenings, there are some rules that should be set for kids. They are as follows:

Restriction on Food and Beverages

Kids should not be allowed to eat food or drink any beverages in the laboratory. This includes: no chewing of gum and pencil ends, etc. Biting nails should be avoided as well.

Use Safety Equipment

Eyes are extremely sensitive and have to be taken care of zealously. So, contact lenses should not be allowed in the laboratory. Use of gloves, goggles, laboratory coat and fume hoods for protection, should be made mandatory. Long hair should be tied up.

Safety Checks

The conical flasks, test tubes, petri dishes, etc., should be thoroughly checked before use. If there is any leak or crack in the container that is to be used for an experiment, students should inform the laboratory technician or teacher immediately.
Also, when the students perform an experiment, there should not be any chemicals or deposits from earlier experiments present in the containers or test tubes.

Following Procedures Carefully

Mouth suction is a wrong method of extracting liquids from the laboratory equipment. Chemicals should not be sniffed or tasted. Also, chemicals should not be washed down the sink.
Students need to ask the teacher about the disposal of the chemicals. Sinks should be used only for water. The countertops, containers, test tubes, etc., should be cleaned before and after performing an experiment.
Children need to pay attention and do only what the lab assistant or their science teacher asks them to do. Chemicals should not be mixed without the consent of the teacher, as some chemicals after reacting with each other, can prove to be very dangerous.

Experiments Under Supervision

Do not perform any experiment in the lab if an adult/teacher/lab assistant is not around. Keep a distance of minimum 1 foot, from the specimen. If a glass breaks, the pieces should not be lifted with bare hands.
A dustpan and broom should be used to clean up the broken glass particles. Hands should be washed thoroughly with soap after any experiment is performed. Tongs should be used to hold a test tube while heating it. Test tubes are made of glass and stay hot for a very long time. Hence, it shouldn't be touched until it cools down completely.
The chemicals should not be put back into their containers after usage. Apparatus should not be directly kept on the countertop, instead an insulation pad should be used. It is incorrect to force a glass tube in a rubber stopper, as it can cause breakage. Kids should not run about in the laboratory, as they may end up spilling things.

Suitable Clothing

Fabrics like nylon, chiffon, etc. should be avoided while working in a science laboratory, if the experiment involves fire/inflammable material as they catch fire very easily. It is essential for kids to know how to turn on/off the flame.

Safety Tips for Teachers

To ensure safety of the kids, few measures that a laboratory technician should take are:
- Avoid having too many children in the laboratory.
- Keep the lab under lock, so no kid would be able to enter without your consent.
- Exercise proper control over the kids and maintain discipline in the laboratory.
- Keep a strict watch on every student present in the laboratory.
- Instruct the students properly before they enter the laboratory.
After using these safety measures if there is any problem faced by kids, they should get find their teacher immediately. Last but not the least, it is very important to read about the experiment thoroughly and perform it properly. This is the most important rule for both, kids as well as adults.