Learn about short-term habits to keep your child safe from lead

If a child under 6 lives in a house built before 1978, that house, by law, must be deleaded. Until deleading occurs, these are some things you can do to help reduce the risk of exposure.

Besides finding and removing lead in my home, are there things I can do to keep my child safe?

1. Clean often

  • Wet wiping reduces lead dust levels in the home. Before you start cleaning, be sure to look at the cleaning guidelines below to keep yourself safe.

2. Put duct tape or contact paper over peeling paint and plaster

  • Put duct tape or contact paper on window wells, window sills, walls or other surfaces with peeling paint or plaster
  • Clean these areas often. Window wells and sills can be cleaned more when contact paper or duct tape are put down first.

3. Keep the lower part of the window closed (if possible)

  • If a window well is in bad condition, keep the lower part of the window closed and only open the upper part. This will prevent your children from putting their hands or objects in the window well where the lead dust collects. It also helps keep lead dust from blowing into the house.

4. Move furniture to block peeling paint and plaster

  • By moving a sofa in front of a crack in a wall, you can block a child's access to lead hazards
  • Never place furniture where a child may climb on it and fall out a window

5. Change your child's bedroom (if possible)

  • If your child's bedroom has chipping paint or plaster, consider using another room without chipping paint for the bedroom

6. Wash your child's hands and toys often

  • Trim your child's fingernails

7. Feed your child food high in iron, calcium, and vitamin C and low in fat

  • Children who don't have enough iron in their diet absorb more lead
  • Keep children from walking around with food (it could be put down in areas with lead dust)
  • Run drinking water until it is cold
  • Use cold water for cooking and making baby formula

8. Regularly have your child tested for lead poisoning

  • Bring your child to the doctor for a lead test each year until age 3 or 4

How do I clean lead dust in my home?

Wear plastic gloves to clean.

Do not use a household vacuum or broom to clean up lead paint chips or dust. This could spread the lead dust into the air and into your vacuum cleaner or room.

1. Pick up all chips by hand or use a damp paper towel (Window areas often have a lot of paint chips):

  • Seal chips and paper towels in a plastic bag and throw out
  • Do not use a household vacuum or broom to clean up lead paint chips or dust

2. Wash household surfaces

  • Use any all-purpose, non-abrasive cleaner
  • Scrub well for best results. However, don't scrub hard enough to remove the intact paint.
  • Clean window wells, window sills, play areas, and floors at least once or twice a week
  • Keep children away when cleaning
  • Keep all cleaners safely away from children

3. Use a spray bottle to keep dust levels down

  • Use a cleaner already in a spray bottle, or put the cleaner into a spray bottle
  • If you must use a bucket, keep the wash water clean. Don't put dirty paper towels into the wash water.

4. Use paper towels

  • Don't use dish cloths or sponges to clean
  • Use a new paper towel to clean each area
  • Seal the used paper towels and gloves in a plastic bag and throw them out

5. Rinse after cleaning

  • Use clean water and paper towels for rinsing each area

6. Clean up properly

  • Wash your hands when cleaning is done
  • Pour any wash and rinse water down the toilet, not the sink

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