One of the most adorable things about babies is their size. From tiny fingers and toes to a sweet button nose, practically every part of a baby feels exceptionally small, which might be why people perceive them to be so delicate. Because it's so hard to remember how tiny they once were when they grow into men who tower over six feet, it's natural to want to preserve that through a craft. Paint, clay, and stamps are all common ways to do so, but is it safe to use paint on baby's hands?
There are many different kinds of paint from which you can choose to capture your little one's tiny handprints. Acrylic, oil-based, tempera, or watercolor (I'm not sure it'd work, but, hey, you could try) are all potential choices. Obviously, you don't want to use any paint that could cause harm. Latex and tempera paints are water-based and regularly used in day cares, preschools, and art classes. Because kids frequently use them, you might think that they're the natural choice for a project that'll put paint on your baby's hands. But according to the National Capital Poison Center website, water-based paints might cause mild skin or mouth irritation. If you're going to use a water-based paint and see that it's irritating your baby's skin, make sure to thoroughly clean his hands and anywhere else there's paint.
Additionally, there are some baby-safe, edible paint recipes floating around on the internet, such as Homemade Edible Finger Paint from the blog, Learning 4 Kids. If you're concerned about using a paint on baby's hands that is safe for their skin, making your own might be a good option. Non-toxic baby paints that you can purchase at craft supply stores may also be a good choice. One mom on a message board on Momtastic's Baby and Bump suggested doing a skin sensitivity test by putting a tiny bit of paint on your baby's arm, letting it sit for a minute or so, washing with soapy water, and checking for any sign of irritation 24 hours later. That way, if there's no sign of irritation, you should probably be safe to go ahead and paint baby's hands without any concerns.
Water-based finger paints are likely your best bet in terms of safe paints for your little one. Many are non-toxic and washable, which makes clean up just a little bit less of a concern. Regardless of type, most paints that you'd likely be choosing from won't be the paints that contain heavy metals, according to the Princeton University Office of Environmental Health and Safety. The website went on to note,if you read the product list and notice that things are described as "hues," that means the pigment does not contain metal, and so should be safe for kids. Again, make sure you use non-toxic paint and keep your baby's hands out of his mouth as much as possible, just to be extra safe. Painting and then immediately cleaning one hand at a time should help with that.
While wrangling a squirmy baby to produce clear handprints might seem like the biggest challenge to a craft project like this one, selecting the right paint so as to keep your baby safe will undoubtedly be the part that's most important.