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Baby Care Basics: What is Lead Poisoning?

Could your child get lead poisoning from your home? Learn if he could be at risk and how to prevent this from happening.

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There's a hidden danger that many parents don't know about; lead poisoning. The growing brain of a child under age five is especially sensitive to the damage caused by lead. It can affect the language development, attention span, and even IQ. But what's scary is that you can no clue that your baby is exposed because most kids have no symptoms. If your home was built before 1978, year that lead was band from household paint, your baby could be exposed by breathing in paint dust or from crawling on the floor and putting her hands on her mouth. Kids can also get sick from chewing on toys that contain lead. So, stay up to date on recalls. Take these steps to help protect your child. Ask your doctor to test her. It's recommended that children receive a blood test for lead at 12 months and 24 months of age. But, if you're ever concerned about a potential exposure, don't wait. The blood test is the only way to know for sure. Test your home. Find a professional inspector at EPA.gov/lead. You can also have your drinking water tested. Keep dust down. If you live in a pre-1978 home, cover peeling paint and wet mop regularly. If you renovate, use a lead safe certified contractor. Also, leave shoes at the door and wash your and your children's hands regularly. If your child is found to have a high lead level, don't panic. Your pediatrician can help you lower the level and watch closely for any issues.