Lead, Carbon Monoxide, and Poison Safety

Lead:

Lead is an extremely dangerous poison.  Remember, children under six are still growing rapidly and are at greater risk.   Lead poisoning is the leading environmentally-induced illness in children. 

Exposure:

  • Even exposed to small amounts children may appear inattentive, become hyperactive, and irritable. 
  • Higher exposed children may experience:  problems reading and learning, delayed growth, and hearing loss. 
  • Highest level can cause permanent brain damage or death.
  • Contaminated soil and water can also contain lead.  
  • Buildings built before 1978 are at the highest risk.

Whether the program owns or rents the facility and whether the FCC provider owns or
rents her home, it is necessary to protect children from lead poisoning. This may be a
shared responsibility between program operators and building owners.

(Note: Before making repairs to a building built before 1978, program administrators or an
FCC providers should contact the local health department to learn how to keep dust levels
down during the repair. Administrators should share this information with early childhood
educators.)

Tips on lead safety.

#1 Remove lead paint and repair the building

  • Fix lead paint and make building repairs safely.
  • Remove all peeling paint and paint chips.
  • Repair peeling or damaged paint or plaster promptly.
  • Insist that children be kept away while old paint is sanded or scraped.

#2 Ensure child safety during lead removal

  • Wash children’s hands and faces after play, before meals, and before bed.
  • Wash toys, stuffed animals, pacifiers, and bottles with soap and water often.
  • Mop floors often, and use damp paper towels to clean window wells and sills.

#3 Prevent child contact with lead from other sources

  • Remove from your setting any toys recalled due to lead content.
  • Test your soil for lead and other toxins. Cover bare soil that might be contaminated with grass or woodchips.
  • Never allow children to play in bare soil as lead might be present. This is especially possible in urban settings and on sites that previously housed factories.
  • Examine old painted toys, high chairs, and furniture because they can contain lead paint and varnish. Regulations ban the use of toxic paints or finishes on anything in an early childhood setting that children use or is within their reach.
  • Prevent children from chewing on metal, brass, lead, or pewter objects such as keys or figurines, fishing weights, blinds, old furniture, or window sills.

#4 Keep lead out of food and water

  • Let tap water run for one minute before using it, if it has not run for a few hours. Both town and well water could contain lead from old plumbing.
  • Use cold tap water only for drinking, cooking, and making baby formula. Boiling water does not get rid of lead.
  • Cook, serve, and store food using lead-free dishes. Do not use cracked china, pewter, crystal, or pottery from Central America or the Middle East.
  • Use bottled water if local water supply is known to include lead.

Protecting Children from Exposure to Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide— labeled “The Silent Killer”—is an odorless, colorless
extremely dangerous, and even deadly if inhaled.

It is produced whenever fuel is burned. It becomes a problem, though, when it builds up in the air.

This happens when small gasoline stoves, grills, generators, lanterns, and gas ranges are not properly installed or ventilated. flues/chimneys and leakage from faulty appliances like clothes dryers can also cause carbon monoxide to accumulate.

When carbon monoxide is inhaled, the carbon monoxide replaces the oxygen in the blood.

Low oxygen levels kill cells and can lead to organ failure and death.

Babies and young children are
among the most susceptible.

What to Do?

If you observe that a child in your program shows symptoms such as headache, dizziness,
vomiting, shortness of breath, disorientation, and seizures, carbon monoxide poisoning could be the cause.

Stay Calm but quick quickly:

  • Take the child outdoors immediately.
  • Turn off the source of the carbon monoxide, if safe to do so.
  • Call 911.
  • Start Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) if the child has stopped breathing and do not stop until the child starts breathing or someone can take over for you. (30 compressions in the center of the chest to 2 breaths)
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors and have them checked annually at the same time as your fire detectors.
  • Clean and inspect furnaces, fireplaces, and wood stoves yearly.
  • Use space heaters and lanterns in well-ventilated areas.
  • Run generators only where the exhaust cannot enter an enclosed area.
  • Avoid using gas ovens, stove tops, or dryers for heat.

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