Monday, October 12, 2009

Five Safety Tips for Children Learning to Sew

If you enjoy sewing, chances are good that your child has expressed interest in your hobby. The thought of our kids with sharp scissors and needles makes most parents cringe, but we don’t want to discourage their interest in a useful and rewarding pursuit, either.

Sewing is great for building fine motor skills and math skills, and sewing itself is a skill that everyone can use at some point in life.

With proper safety precautions, kids can start learning to sew at a young age. While it doesn’t make much sense to let a three-year old loose with a sewing machine, even young kids can get started with the right tools and close supervision.

Here are five safety tips to remember when dealing with budding tailors and seamstresses:

1. Use age-appropriate supplies.

Sewing scissors are too sharp and too large for young hands, and regular sewing needles present a laundry list of dangers. Let your child work with safety scissors and a plastic needle. If you give him a loosely knit, porous fabric, they will work just fine.

2. Watch your child closely, especially during the first few attempts.

For the youngest children, swallowing small parts such as needles and spools of thread is a concern. And even safety scissors could cut little hands. Until your child gets the hang of things, careful supervision is of the utmost importance.

3. Maintain strict control over the sewing machine.

Children younger than eight years old probably don’t have the motor skills and good judgment to attempt machine sewing. At eight years of age, it’s up to the parent to decide whether the child is ready. If you feel that she is, provide plenty of guidance and stay right with her while she makes those first stitches.

4. Make sure the sewing machine is secured and inoperable when you’re not around.

Put the needle and pressure foot down when done sewing, cover the machine and turn it off. You may even want to unplug it as an added precaution. Kids who are curious about sewing might try to use the machine when you’re not around, and if it’s not properly secured, they could be seriously injured.

5. Keep scissors, needles and pins put up and out of kids’ reach when not in use.

These things create a temptation for young, unsupervised kids as well. It’s also wise to keep a magnetic pin cushion in case of spillage.

Encouraging your child’s interest in sewing may help him develop a lifelong interest in the hobby.

This could serve him well when he’s older. He might decide to sew clothes for his own family, saving lots of money in the process. Or he could be a future fashion designer!

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