HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOUR CHILD FROM THE DANGERS OF LEAD?
Take these steps to protect your child from lead poisoning:
- Make sure he eats well. If your child is well nourished, his body will be less likely to absorb lead even if he’s exposed to it. (Fried and fatty foods allow the body to absorb lead faster.) It’s particularly important to eat a diet that provides enough iron, calcium, protein, vitamin C, and zinc.
- Keep your child’s hands clean. Wash his hands – or teach him to wash his hands – several times a day, particularly when he comes in from playing outside and before eating a meal or snack (something you’ll want to him to do anyway).
- Keep your home clean. Wipe up paint chips and dust with a disposable wet cloth and damp mop your floors. If you’re in the market for a new vacuum cleaner, consider one with a HEPA filter. Not only will it trap lead dust particles, it’ll clear the air of some possible allergens as well.
- Make sure that your child’s crib or bed, playpen, and toys don’t have any peeling paint.
- If your child is a baby or toddler, prevent him from chewing on painted surfaces, such as windowsills, cribs, play yards, or furniture.
- Identify and eliminate any potential sources of lead in your home. Periodically check for recalls of toys and other children’s and household items that may contain lead.
- If your child goes to daycare or school, find out when the building was built and whether it has been tested for the presence of lead. Do whatever’s possible to provide him with a lead-free daycare and school environment.
- Test your tap water and take steps to eliminate lead if necessary.
- Talk with the doctor about having your child’s lead level tested (see recommended schedules, above), especially if you think he may have been exposed to lead.
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