Polystyrene a choking hazard ?

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Jubbs
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Jan 2019 11 14:41

Polystyrene a choking hazard ?

For the last 2 years, the reception and Y1 classes have been using polystyrene packing products as teaching aids in the classroom, mostly the flat or tubular type which are not so easy to break up. This week I ventured down there after one of my cleaners reported hoovering was becoming a joke as the stuff was everywhere, well, they are using the solid type, the kind that breaks into small granules/pearls and as we all know sticks to everything.

It's all over the place, but of bigger concern to me is a kid accidentally inhaling a handful, that stuff could go deep.

I've looked online but there is no legislation I can find apart from advice to keep all poly away from pre-school, nurseries or daycare for that very reason, choking, but thats only up to 3yrs old. I know that supervision is in place during class time but during breaks there is not. I could approach the staff down there but I always feel like a mother scolding her children for acting badly, If I could find some kosher H&S official advice it may swing them into thinking appropriately, as I'm not sure why no-one has spotted the obvious danger to the kids.

Anyone come across this problem before ?
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EBJ
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Jan 2019 11 15:23

Re: Polystyrene a choking hazard ?

Never thought about this subject before so had a googel myself and was surprised at the how dangeouse this stuff could be when swalled by a child and now knowing that i wonder how many parents would be shocked that a school are allowing their children to play with this s part of a lesson supervised or not.

My youngest daughter is a Director of Child Care for one of the UK's largest nursery school companies and a while back had to investigate when a child chocked to death on a small piece of apple even though a doctor from across the road was ther within two minutes, i suppose what i am trying to get across is that it is a dangerouse product, children can be harmed and it makes no differance how suprvised they are.

Common semse should rule here and ban it, why take a risk on a childs life when there are alternatives to teaching. [Disappointment.png]
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Jubbs
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Jan 2019 11 16:39

Re: Polystyrene a choking hazard ?

EBJ wrote:
Fri, 11th Jan 2019, 3:23pm
Never thought about this subject before so had a googel myself and was surprised at the how dangeouse this stuff could be when swalled by a child and now knowing that i wonder how many parents would be shocked that a school are allowing their children to play with this s part of a lesson supervised or not.

My youngest daughter is a Director of Child Care for one of the UK's largest nursery school companies and a while back had to investigate when a child chocked to death on a small piece of apple even though a doctor from across the road was ther within two minutes, i suppose what i am trying to get across is that it is a dangerouse product, children can be harmed and it makes no differance how suprvised they are.

Common semse should rule here and ban it, why take a risk on a childs life when there are alternatives to teaching. [Disappointment.png]
From what I've gathered, from a teachers perspective its a great learning tool, weighing, filling and texture etc. But its strange when "safeguarding" is such a foremost subject right now that things like this can get under the radar. I would never assume a kid of 4yrs is going to understand the dangers of inhaling featherweight beads into his lungs just out of the curiosity of putting it in his mouth. [Shock.png]
The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. Socrates
If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door. Milton Berle
Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because they want to do it. D.Eisenhower

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Lucastone1
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Jan 2019 11 17:07

Re: Polystyrene a choking hazard ?

"Polystyrene contains the toxic substances Styrene and Benzene, suspected carcinogens and neurotoxins that are hazardous to human health. Hot food and liquids actually start a partial breakdown of the styrofoam causing some toxins to be absorbed into our bloodstream and tissue."
So go for it Jubbs.
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seanallen
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Jan 2019 11 17:11

Re: Polystyrene a choking hazard ?

I remember a warning that went round years ago, to do with a chemical reaction between polystyrene and PVA glue. It gave off a nasty gas!
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Lucastone1
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Jan 2019 11 17:16

Re: Polystyrene a choking hazard ?

The thing is Jubbs (and i never realised) if you google it it's bad, bad stuff. I'm glad i did
'cos it's opened my eyes. The stuff your teachers are using is poisoning the enviroment. [Scared.png]

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Handyman
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Jan 2019 11 19:50

Re: Polystyrene a choking hazard ?

Earlier this week we had some furniture delivered that was wrapped in polystyrene blocks. One of the early years teachers wanted them for her class but the head of early years said she wasn't allowed as it is a choking hazard.

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Taz
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Jan 2019 11 22:31

Re: Polystyrene a choking hazard ?

I had a 5 year old last year pick up a handful of rock salt as she thought it was snow. She then ate it!! Strange thing is, a few years before, there was a shortage of Prit Sticks. Just kept disappearing as soon as they were put out. Her older brother was eating them. I kid you not.

I can see how kids that age would think the same thing with this, even more so actually.

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ALARPREALLY
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Jan 2019 12 08:43

Re: Polystyrene a choking hazard ?

The problem is historic practices and staff not doing risk assessments properly. This stuff is a big no-no. They use it for hand-eye co-ordination (hitting it with hammers and such) and weighing and flowing because of it's handling properties. But it's very dangerous, even over three years of age.
If it's broken up into the smallest pieces or in tiny beads like bean bag filling, it's static attraction will make it cling to anything. Up noses, in ears, and of course swallowed it gets wet and sticks together clogging airways, and can be inhaled right down into the lungs and into the stomach. It is really difficult to wash out of eyes too.There is no prooof as yet that it is toxic, but lots of studies link it to cancer and long term toxicity build up.
It is REALLY bad for the environment. It is single use, and once used can't be recycled so ends up in landfil for 1000's of years. On that alone most responsible companies are banning it.
Most likely outcome? Choking and lung damage, (you will not know if a child has it in their lung and it won't show on x-rays. So children MUST NEVER be left along with it or accidentally be able to get to it without supervision. Teachers can't watch a child every second, and it only takes a second! Tell them at best they must clear it away after every session, and NEVER leave it out. They will soon find an alternative.
I believe ELC do an alternative made from corn starch which is much more suitable.
Please let me know if you find it.

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Keyolder
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Jan 2019 12 08:58

Re: Polystyrene a choking hazard ?

Lucastone1 wrote:
Fri, 11th Jan 2019, 5:16pm
The thing is Jubbs (and i never realised) if you google it it's bad, bad stuff. I'm glad i did
'cos it's opened my eyes. The stuff your teachers are using is poisoning the enviroment. [Scared.png]
I just Googled it as well, I never realised what nasty stuff it is... [Shock.png]

Thanks for the heads up.
Smile, and the world will smile with you. Laugh and they'll all think you’re a looney [Crazy.png]

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