Cleaning smart can reduce the amount of lead our kids are exposed to, helping them to grow up strong and healthy.

When lead dust is in the air, it finds its way into our homes and places where kids play. It is on our shoes and clothes, kid’s toys, play equipment, air conditioner vents and filters, and comes through windows and doors on windy days.

Young kids are more likely than adults to ingest small amounts of lead because they put things in their mouths, crawl and play on the floor, touch dusty surfaces indoors and outdoors, and touch their mouths.

Cleaning smart can reduce the amount of lead our kids are exposed to, helping them to grow up strong and healthy.

Regular hand washing is the best way to keep lead out of our kids’ bodies.

  • Make sure kids wash their hands after playing outside or with pets.
  • Make sure kids wash their hands before eating.
  • Make sure you and your family wash hands before preparing or eating food.
  • Keep kids’ fingernails short, and make sure to use a nailbrush.
  • Wash pets, their toys and bowls regularly, and make sure you brush them outside.

Inside the home

Lead dust can settle on all the surfaces in your house. Sweeping and dry dusting causes lead dust to swirl around and settle on other surfaces.

Use a damp cloth to wipe down kitchen surfaces before preparing food. Use a wet mop to clean floors rather than a broom. Use a damp cloth to wipe down shelves, furniture and toys.

If you can, use a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuum cleaner, and keep the kids out of the room when you vacuum. Empty the vacuum dust bag into the garbage bin, not into the garden.

Seal cracks in the walls or ceiling to prevent old dust from getting into your home.

Be very careful with old paint. Paint made before the 1970s is very high in lead. Check your home for paint, dust flakes or chips. Clean it up, remove or repair it safely and as quickly as possible. If you are renting, speak with your landlord.

Close your windows and doors on dry and windy days. Sit kids at the table or put babies in a high chair to eat.

Around the home

It is best to sit kids at the table or put babies in a high chair. If kids do sit on the floor — or on the ground outside — put down a clean sheet, towel or blanket first, to keep lead dust or dirt out of the food and off their hands.

Leave shoes outside and have a doormat.

Rainwater from water tanks looks and smells like clean water but can still contain lead. Avoid drinking it, using it to prepare or cook food, or giving it to your pets. Rainwater and grey water can be used on your garden.

After windy or dusty days, wipe down windows, door screens, verandahs, play equipment and other outdoor surfaces with a wet cloth or mop.

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