In this season of gift giving, be careful when deciding to give children metal and plastic toys, especially imported toys, antique toys and toy jewelry.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that some of those toys and toy jewelry might contain lead hazards. Children may be exposed by simply handling toys normally. It is normal for toddlers and infants to put toys, fingers and other objects in their mouths.
Just wearing toy jewelry that contains lead will not cause children to have a high level of lead in their blood. However, chewing or sucking on the jewelry will. Toys imported into the United States and antique toys and collectibles often contain lead.
There is no safe level of lead in blood, the CDC says. Most children with high blood lead levels do not have any symptoms. As blood lead levels increase, a larger effect on children’s learning and behavior will occur. A blood lead test is the only way to know if your child has an elevated lead level.
If you think your child put jewelry containing lead in his or her mouth, remove the jewelry and see your health care provider.
Visit the CDC’s website for more information on lead hazards and toys. More information is also available on the CDC’s Lead web pages.