Is Acrylic Paint Safe For Kids To Use?

Whether an interactive craft with your kids or playing with it, paints are the perfect medium to convey creativity. At a young age, such creativity is at its peak and must get nurtured by us. 

Is acrylic paint safe for kids to use

So if you want to let your child have a fun time painting, you must select the best quality paint for them. Unfortunately, the selection might be confusing due to the variety of paints available in the market. 

Your initial choice is to go for poster colors or even tempera colors for your child. But for the longevity of the artwork, you might want to turn to acrylic paints. But you might think, is acrylic paint safe for kids or not?

While acrylic paint is labeled non-toxic, does it translate to being safe for kids to use? You would discover by reading further that both are separate concepts, and you need to consider them individually.

You could use acrylic paint for your kids’ art projects or recreational purposes, but there are better paints out there. Let us find out more about acrylic paints and see if they can be safe for a kid to use.

What Are Acrylic Paints?

Acrylic paints are usually paints suspended in the acrylic polymer. As a result, the paint has smooth application over multiple surfaces and dries very quickly. A fun fact is that acrylic paints are water-based, but they become water-repellant after drying.

Since they are water repellant and can go over most surfaces, they are ideal for art and craft. But what we are talking about is children using this paint, so the scenario isn’t identical.

So while the toxicity of these paints is low, they might not be entirely safe due to their chemical composition. Understandably, you would want to choose them due to their convenience but do ample research before it.

Why Is Acrylic Paint Ideal for Painting?

Acrylic paints are one of the best paints for long-lasting and easy artwork. The paint is ideal due to multiple features. The acrylic paints are quite versatile and can work on most surfaces.

Also, these paints can mix well with water when wet, but once they dry completely, they become waterproof. So they can be used as a finishing layer on craft items if you run out of polish.

And acrylic paints can stick well in layers on the surface. Their drying time is one of the lowest out of all thick paints. Additionally, acrylic paints are less toxic than oil paints and even faster to dry.

Are Acrylic Paints Toxic?

The direct answer to the question would be no, and they are not toxic. Even on a bottle of acrylic paint, you can see the non-toxic label. And true to the labels, acrylic paints aren’t exactly toxic per se.

But because they are mainly chemicals that aren’t ideal for your body, consumption and direct contact would not be great either. Moreover, if exposed to such paint, some people even get irritation on their skin.

And you might accidentally consume some, but you should immediately wash it out. It’s not as bad to consume it but havess metals and chemicals that aren’t good for your body. So it is best to keep it far away from the mouth.

A thing you must remember before buying acrylic paints is that you must check the stamp of approval. If your paint product has one, then it’s tested for toxicity levels. Usually, all craft paints in stores have these stamps.

Why Acrylic Paint Might Not Be Ideal for Kids?

Usually, you would see that kids above three can manage using such paints well under supervision. But even after that, what factors come into play while kids use such paints. Since an adult painting is far different from a child’s, the paint’s effects also differ.

So here are a few reasons and scenarios that make acrylic paints unsafe for children:

Children Love Sticking Their Hands in Their Mouths 

Young kids often stick their hands in their mouths without thinking about what might be on them. So this habit makes acrylic paints unfit for children. So even though the label on your paint may say non-toxic, it doesn’t necessarily mean not harmful.

Acrylic paint will not do much harm in small quantities. It will also be fine if you wash it immediately. But what if your child accidentally swallows some by putting a hand covered with paint into their mouth.

In that scenario, your child will consume multiple metals and chemicals not good for their system. So it is generally safe to not give young kids acrylic paints to avoid any consumption.

Kids Might Get the Paint Over Their Skin

Some paints are safe to use on your skin, and stay safe even if you leave them there. But it isn’t the same for acrylic paints. Acrylic paints are indeed harmful if applied for too long on the skin.

If you get a splash of paint on, you can just remove it with soap and water. But if you have the paint on your hand for longer, it might irritate the skin. Some people even report slight redness and itching.

And if that paint dries over their skin, it might hurt when you remove it. So it is best to keep acrylic paint away from children who might get it all over them. Younger children do this, but older kids can handle paints well.

Kids Might Like to Smell the Paint

Acrylic paint, due to its chemical composition, releases certain fumes. These fumes might come out when the paint is still wet and also after it dries. In the usual scenario, it won’t reach you if you are in a ventilated area.

But kids have a knack for touching, licking, and smelling anything that looks delicious (or colorful) to them. And acrylic paints sure do fir the memo. So your child might try to get a smell of the red paint to see if it smells like fresh strawberries. 

They might not find a smell, but smelling such paint, especially for a long period, is not ideal for any child. Therefore, it is another major reason to keep acrylic paints away from younger children.

When Can You Give Your Kid Acrylic Paints?

If you wonder, “is acrylic paint safe for babies” and should you give it to them, consider these things first. Then, there are some conditions under which you could give acrylic paint to your child.

There are some factors to consider before you give your child acrylic paints to use for their art. First of all, younger children do not exactly require longevity for their art projects.

So, regular child-safe paints can work just as well for younger children. And younger children also do not have good control over their actions. So they might knowingly or unknowingly put the paint in their mouth and smell it.

If your child is mature enough to understand the correct way to handle paint, it is okay to give them acrylic paint. You must ensure that they won’t put the paint into their mouth or skin at all.

You can also let a child use acrylic paints when you are present throughout the entire process. However, if you are leaving your child unsupervised for some time, it’s best to give them paints that are safe even when consumed.

Which Paints to Use Instead of Acrylic Paint for Children?

So you must be curious as to what you could use, if not acrylic paints for kids? Since there are various harmful ingredients like cobalt, chromium, and more in these paints, they aren’t ideal. Especially not for little kids.

But you would then require some other paints to help express your child’s creativity and talents. Do not worry, though, as there are many other paints you can give to your children.

Some paints safe for children are watercolors for kids, tempera paints, finger paints, and more. 

Tempera paints are easily the best option for your child in terms of paint. Tempera paints can get washed easily and aren’t harmful to children.

Watercolors made for children are also an ideal option. You can check the label to see the suitable age for them. 

Finger paints are also great, especially for handprint and footprint crafts. Many people switch to finger paints to make the handprints and footprints of their child as they are safer for the skin.


With the above information, you must have grasped what the pros and cons of acrylic paints are. On the one hand, acrylic paints are convenient to use and ideal for making art last. 

But at the same time, the paints are not exactly safe for consumption, touching, or smelling. So, in general, they are not the best paints to give to kids, especially when the kids are young.

Even if you see the non-toxic label on the paints, you should consider the above factors before handing the paints to your kids. There are far safer options in terms of paints for children.

So you can refer to all the merits and demerits of utilizing acrylic paint for crafts projects and decide if you want to use them. 

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