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October 30, 2018

Family Lead Safety

Chipped paint

Lead Poisoning Prevention

Lead poisoning is 100% preventable. It’s no secret babies and toddlers love chewing and putting things in their mouth. As a result, young kids under six years old are at higher risk of exposure. If you live in or receive child care in an old house, it’s possible your child could be exposed to lead. How? Children can ingest old lead paint dust or chips if lead paint is present. But a little bit of awareness can have a big impact!

Some of the effects lead poisoning can have are:

  • damage to brain development
  • kidney damage
  • seizures
  • unconsciousness
  • damage to nervous system
  • in very extreme cases, death
What things can you do to keep your family safe?
1. Check your home.

Many old homes could have lead. Home repairs, renovations or paint cracking and flaking releases dust with lead in it. If your home was built before 1978, it’s possible your home could have lead. Indiana has a free program through the State Department of Health (ISDH) and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) that offers homeowners and renters FREE services to help test and eliminate lead from their home. 

2. Keep children away from lead paint and dust.

Be sure to clean around windows, play areas and floors. Also, wash hands and toys often, especially before eating and sleeping. Use soap and water. For chipping or peeling paint in the house, use contact paper or duct tape to cover the area. Cleaning dust off floors and surfaces is not just for appearances either! Scientists are finding that some homes have high levels of lead that come from tracking in dirt from outside. Learn more about what you can do and how you can help scientists learn more about the pollutants inside homes here.

3. Talk to your doctor.

Health care providers are not required to offer a lead test. But many of them are able to recognize families that are at high risk of exposure. Asking your doctor to test your child for lead can lead to learning more about your child’s health and about your family’s risk. No amount of lead in the blood stream is safe. There are many resources available for reducing your family’s risk. A blood lead test is the only way to find out if your child has a high lead level. Most children with high levels of lead in their blood have no symptoms. If your child tests positive for lead, your child’s health care provider will recommend treatment.

Some families living in Douglas County in Indiana may be eligible for a free blood test. Contact the Douglas County Health Department at (402) 444-7825.

4. Ask your child care provider if their home, building, classroom or center is lead safe.

Indiana currently has no lead testing requirements for child care providers. But the state does have a lead poisoning prevention program, and they can help your child care provider make their environments safer.

Share this with your care provider: Resources for Child Care Providers About Lead

In fiscal year 2018, the State of Indiana received $595,682 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for childhood lead poisoning prevention programmatic activities. To learn more about these efforts in Indiana, contact Indiana State Department of Health Lead & Healthy Homes Division or the Marion County Healthy Homes, Environmental Consumer Management & Senior Care Department.

Want to learn more about healthy and safe child care? Check out these resources:

Selecting Quality Care

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