You can help protect your family from lead poisoning by taking these simple steps.
Keep children away from lead dust.
If you live in a home built before 1978, treat all paint as if it has lead in it. To keep kids from swallowing or breathing in lead:
- Keep children away from rooms with chipping or peeling paint.
- Cover peeling or chipping paint with duct tape or contact paper.
- Use a wet paper towel or mop to clean up dust regularly, especially around windows and on the floor.
If you live in an older home and you are doing any home remodeling or repairs, be sure to follow lead-safe work practices. Keep pregnant women and children away from the work area.
Wash your child’s hands and toys.
Lead dust from chipping and peeling paint can get on children’s hands and toys. Wash hands and toys often, especially before eating and sleeping.
Play this podcast on Happy Handwashing for your child.
Test your home for lead.
If you live in a home built before 1978, have your home inspected (tested) for lead paint by a licensed lead inspector. Ask the inspector about testing your soil and water, too.
To learn more, contact your local health department. Ask if they have a program to inspect your home for lead at no cost to you.
What if I rent my home?
Ask your landlord to have your home tested for lead. Your local health department can tell you about your landlord’s responsibilities.
Test your child for lead.
There are no signs or symptoms of lead poisoning. A lead test is the only way to know for sure if your child has lead poisoning.
A lead test measures the amount of lead in your child’s blood. If you are worried about lead poisoning, ask your child’s doctor or nurse to test your child for lead.
If your child has a high lead level, do these 5 things to help lower your child's lead level [PDF - 190 KB].
What about cost?
Medicaid covers – and requires – lead screening for children ages 12 months and 24 months. And private insurance plans must cover lead screening for children who are at high risk of lead poisoning, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (the health care reform law passed in 2010).
Check with your insurance company to find out what’s included in your plan. For information about other services for children that are covered by the Affordable Care Act, visit HealthCare.gov.