Protect Your Children Where They Learn and Play

Lead poisoning is entirely preventable. Learn what you can do to stop children from coming into contact with lead before they are harmed.

Test Your Child

Find out if your child has elevated levels of lead in his or her blood. Because lead poisoning often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized. You can test your child for lead poisoning by asking your pediatrician to do a simple blood test. Children with elevated blood lead levels can have serious health effects. If you know your child has lead poisoning, talk to your pediatrician and local health agency about what you can do.

On May 17, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned that certain blood lead testing systems manufactured by Magellan Diagnostics may provide results lower than the actual level of lead present in blood when performed on blood drawn from a vein. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends that parents of children under six years of age, pregnant women, and nursing mothers who have been tested for lead exposure consult a health care professional about whether they should be retested.

Check the Condition of Schools and Childcare Facilities

Although your home may be free of lead-based paint hazards, your child could still be exposed elsewhere, particularly if they spend time in a building built before 1978. Ask your child’s school board or facilities manager if they regularly inspect for lead hazards. Here is a list of places to look:

  • Interior painted areas -Examine walls and interior surfaces to see if the paint is cracking, chipping, or peeling, and check areas on doors or windows where painted surfaces may rub together.
  • Exterior painted areas -Check exterior paint as well; it can flake off and contaminate nearby soil where children may play.
  • Surrounding areas -Be sure there are no large structures nearby with peeling or flaking paint that could contaminate the soil around play areas.
  • Cleaning practices- Make sure the staff washes any pacifiers, toys, or bottles that fall on the floor. Also, make sure the staff has the children wash their hands thoroughly after playing outside and before eating or sleeping.
  • Play areas -Look to see if areas where children play are dust-free and clean. Outside, check for bare soil and test for lead.
  • Playground equipment -Older equipment can contain lead-based paint.
  • Painted toys and furniture – Make sure the paint is not cracking, chipping, or peeling. Inquire about whether a childcare center’s toys comply with the requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
  • Also, ask about testing all of the drinking water outlets in the facility and on the playground, especially those that provide water for drinking, cooking, and preparing juice and infant formula. Read more about drinking water in schools and child care facilities.

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