Protecting Children from Lead Exposures in Home-Based Child Care
Project Funder: JPB Foundation.
Project Description: In the United States, three million children under the age of six receive care in family home settings, by approximately one million child care professionals, many of whom are unaware of possible lead dangers in their homes’ paint, dust, soil, water, and consumer products. There is no safe level of lead for children; even low levels of exposure to invisible sources of lead can cause irreversible damage to a child’s brain and nervous system, resulting in IQ deficits and learning and behavioral problems that last a lifetime. As harmful as these effects are, the good news is that lead exposure is preventable and lead hazards are fixable. The actions home child care providers take can make a big difference in the lives of the children they serve.
With funding from the JPB Foundation, Eco-Healthy Child Care (a national program of the Children’s Environmental Health Network), the National Association for Family Child Care, and the National Center for Healthy Housing have partnered to help family child care providers eliminate lead in their home environments by developing the Lead-Safe Toolkit for Home-Based Child Care. Survey responses from nearly 500 home-based child care providers across the country, as well as a panel of lead poisoning prevention experts, helped us assess the most useful items to put into the toolkit. Child care providers are encouraged to use this toolkit to establish lead prevention policies for their businesses and learn vital lead prevention strategies for use in their child care homes. This toolkit was created for family child care providers with input from providers, and it offers a range of free and low-cost practices and resources to help providers reduce lead hazards in their child care homes.
The Lead-Safe Toolkit for Home-Based Child Care
The Lead-Safe Toolkit for Home-Based Child Care is a work in progress. We’ll add more resources over the coming months, including policies and worksheets for lead in soil, lead in paint, and lead in consumer products. Additionally, we will conduct webinars to acquaint providers with the toolkit and provide technical assistance to answer provider questions about how to best adopt lead prevention policies. We will post testimonies from home- and center-based child care providers, sharing their experiences as they work to protect the children in their care and their own families from lead hazards.
The Lead-Safe Toolkit for Home-Based Child Care and Lead-Safe Toolkit for Center-Based Child Care contents include:
- A poster for display in child care homes and centers (HBCC | CBCC).
- A lead-in-soil policy (HBCC | CBCC) and accompanying worksheet (HBCC | CBCC) for homes built prior to the EPA’s ban on lead-based paint in 1978, with easy-to-follow steps for finding out if water is potentially lead-contaminated and steps to take to reduce exposure. Many of these steps are low-cost and simple to implement: HBCC | CBCC
- A lead-in-water policy (HBCC | CBCC) and accompanying worksheet (HBCC | CBCC) with easy-to-follow steps for finding out if water is potentially lead-contaminated and steps to take to reduce exposure. Many of these steps are low-cost and simple to implement.
- A collection of science-based, widely used lead prevention resources for both home- and center-based child care businesses (HBCC | CBCC).
WEBINAR SERIES: In our four-part webinar series, you’ll learn how to protect the children entrusted to your care from lead hazards found in paint, water, soil, and consumer products. You don’t have to watch the webinars in order. Watch the series on YouTube:
COVID-19: For comprehensive guidance on cleaning, disinfecting, screening, social distancing and other COVID-19 best practices within child care environments, consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. NCHH has also curated a page of resources to assist with the challenges created by COVID-19, including some that may be useful to home- and center-based child care providers. Please also be sure to consult your state and local reopening guidelines.
COMING SOON: Peer-reviewed articles, additional webinars and videos, press releases, and blog posts.