Risk Factors and Children

Key points

  • Children under 6 are at greatest risk for health problems from lead exposure.
  • The health effects of lead exposure are more harmful to younger children than older children because they are growing quickly.
  • Young children may also put their hands or other objects with lead dust, into their mouths.
Toddler boy sitting on the floor and reaching up to the camera.


Children can be exposed to lead from many sources, including:

Though lead can be found in many places in a child's environment, lead exposure is preventable. The key is stopping children from coming into contact with lead by swallowing or breathing in lead or lead dust. Parents can take steps to make their homes more lead safe. Learn more about preventing lead poisoning in children.

Exposure to lead can seriously harm a child's health and cause well-documented health effects. These effects include damage to the brain and nervous system and slowed growth and development. Children may also have learning and behavior problems and hearing and speech problems. If your child may have been exposed to lead, talk to your child's health care provider about a blood lead test.

Learn more about exposure


Know the facts – facts and information on lead poisoning prevention (printable PDF)

5 Things you can do to help lower your child's lead level – facts and information on lead poisoning prevention (en Español)

A healthy home for everyone: The guide for families and individuals – booklet with information and action steps for creating a healthy and safe home

Find a pediatric environmental health specialty unit (PEHSU) in your region – information about protecting children from environmental hazards. Learn more with these (videos in English and en Español)