Kids are born knowing how to put themselves in harm’s way, and try as you might, there’s no way to protect your child from every potential danger.
That’s why it’s especially crucial you learn the signs of a deadly disease that could have long-term repercussions for your family and know that even your kid’s toys could put them at risk.
It’s easy to consider lead poisoning a thing of the past, but despite improved safety standards across multiple industries, it’s still a threat to your child’s well-being, warned the experts at Parents Magazine.
Young kids under the age of six are extremely susceptible to the ill effects of lead poisoning, said the parenting pros.
“Their bodies absorb lead easier,” the outlet explained. “Infants and toddlers are also susceptible because they might touch things containing lead (such as lead paint chips from door edges and window sills) and put their hands in their mouths.”
Lead poisoning remains a very real problem, as the statistics make clear.
Research from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates lead poisoning is linked to 62.5 percent of developmental intellectual disabilities where the cause is “not obvious,” and associated lead with 900,000 deaths per year globally.
The tragic reality is that most parents don’t know what symptoms to look for, or they chalk the ailments up to other conditions.
Headaches, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, constipation, loss of appetite, joint pain, tiredness, and irritability or changes in behavior can all be symptoms of lead poisoning.
Of course, many parents could readily say these are also symptoms of toddlerhood.
That’s why you need to keep an eye out for patterns, or symptoms that build over time.
Lead exposure is so dangerous because it’s cumulative – dangerous lead levels build up slowly, and aren’t always detected until serious damage has been done, the experts detailed.
Your child is unlikely to ingest or be exposed to a lethal amount of lead all at once. If your child goes several days or weeks with inexplicable body cramps and tummy troubles, it might be time to look for potential sources of exposure.
“Although lead paint was banned in the late 1970s, many older homes still contain the toxic metal,” the experts at Parents wrote.
“Children can be exposed through paint chips or paint dust, especially if they ingest it or breathe it in.” During home renovations, you should be mindful of this.
“Parents who are remodeling or completing building work on their older homes may unwittingly fill their homes with dangerous levels of lead,” the pros warned.
Some pipes can also secrete lead into drinking water, another source of the cumulative build-up.
If you suspect the source isn’t something within the home itself, you should check your child’s toybox. Toxic lead is present in some vintage or antique toys.
Do some research on safety recalls for any hand-me-down toys or those that come home from garage sales and secondhand shops.
Some traditional medicines, like Azarcon and Greta, can contain lead, and if you’re breastfeeding it’s important to remember that your own lead exposure can pass along to your baby, the experts wrote.
If you suspect your child has been exposed to lead, take action ASAP.
In the long-term, the CDC warns lead poisoning can result in immunotoxicity, as well as brain and nervous system damage.
Those conditions can be deadly or result in developmental delays, behavioral challenges, and hearing or speech problems, so it’s best to take this threat very seriously.