Parents’ Guide to Avoiding Lead Exposure in Children
Besides slips and falls, our kids are often exposed to far less obvious dangers. For example, lead exposure in children is a serious threat. In today’s blog, we’ll talk about the dangers of lead poisoning and some of best ways to keep our kids safe.
Get the Lead Out
First, let’s talk about how exposure to lead can affect our kids. Unfortunately, this element is both invisible and doesn’t have an odor. In this situation, a parent may never realize that there is a hazard present. Of course, lead is dangerous for everyone, but little kids from are the most at risk. Before the age of three, young children absorb lead more easily than older kids and adults. That said, lead exposure in children of all ages could lead to serious health issues. Possible side affects include:
- Brain and nervous system damage
- Learning, behavioral and developmental issues
- Hearing loss and speech difficulties.
For kids, every moment of development and growth is important. Any exposure to lead can put them at risk. To this end, there is no “safe” level of exposure that can be ignored. To learn more, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have created this handy fact sheet for parents.
Lead Exposure in Children is Preventable
Now that we understand the dangers of lead exposure in children, is there any way to stop it? Yes! In most cases, lead exposure is entirely preventable.
The most common way that kids are exposed to lead is through paint. For instance, the paint used in older houses often contained lead. When this paint flakes or chips off, it can be extremely dangerous for a child to ingest. Even the dust can be hazardous.
Fortunately, since the late 1970s, lead-based paint is no longer manufactured. That said, parents should make absolutely sure that the paint in their home is lead-free. After all, a developing child is always curious. A lot of learning comes from putting things in their mouths. When it comes to lead, this can spell disaster. The first step to a lead-free home is eliminating any problematic paint.
Lead hazards in a child’s environment must be identified and controlled or removed safely.
Some other sources of lead exposure in children may include:
- Drinking water from copper pipes with lead solder
- Imported toys, furniture and other objects that may not be certified as lead-free
- Pottery and ceramics
Even products like some vinyl blinds may contain traces of lead. So while you’re concerned with window safety, be sure to verify that your blinds aren’t harming your health. Above all, contact your local health department to learn more about having your home checked for lead sources. If you have an older home, you may also want to get your water tested.
Learning the Signs of Lead Poisoning
It is important to know how to recognize lead poisoning. On one hand, the victim may not show any symptoms. In other cases, parents should stay on the lookout for these potential symptoms:
- Frequent headaches and fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- A strange metallic taste in their mouth
- Muscle and joint weakness
Prevent Lead Exposure in Your Home
After all this, what is a parent to do? Besides getting rid of paints and products, here are some important protective steps that parents should take:
First, trust your doctor. Ask them about having your kids tested for possible lead exposure. In addition to this, if one child has tested positive for lead exposure, the whole family should be tested. It’s just a good precaution.
Finally, be sure that your kids wash their hands and toys often. Cleanliness can go a long way to preventing lead exposure in children. It’s also great for avoiding the spread of other germs, too!