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To think I may have poisoned my son? Devastated & terrified!

(48 Posts)
SundayBea Mon 27-Jul-15 09:13:13

From the age of about 10 months onwards my DS was completely obsessed with keys. He would grab them at any opportunity he got and mouth them all over. This obsession endured and has only really started to lessen in the last couple of months (he's now two and a half). When he was a baby I would take the keys back from him but i admit that when we were out and about it was often easier just to let him have them rather than have him cry. Obviously I supervised him at all times with them but I still worried about germs.
Then a family member got him a set of his own blank keys from a locksmiths when he was about 14 months old. So I sterilised them in hot water and let him get on with it. He loved them! Also when we were around other family or friends he would nearly always end up with their keys.
I have just found out last night that nearly all brass door keys contain lead (around 2%), that children under the age of 6 absorb 70% of the lead they come into contact with and that even small levels of lead in the blood of infants can lead to all kinds of terrible problems such as brain damage etc.
I would say DS spent at least an hour a day in total with the keys in and out of his mouth for over a year. Also I usually wouldn't wash his hands after playing with them (because the keys were regularly cleaned by me) and he would then put his fingers in his mouth and eat food etc. He has also played regularly and occasionally mouthed my husbands old toy cars which I have found could also contain lead in the paint.

Symptoms of of lead poisoning in children can be loss of appetite (DS was a milk monster when he was a baby but he's always had a tiny appetite since we weaned him and is a fussy eater), trouble sleeping (he is a nightmare sleeper and still wakes most nights), growth delay (he is 2 and a half and still wears 12-18 month trousers).

I feel so sick, I've been awake most of the night thinking about it. Trying to get hold of the doctors for an appointment to get a blood test. Feeling so terrified. I often see other children with keys and apparently the locksmith that got the keys for our DS says he gets asked for blank keys regularly by parents for their children. Why aren't people made aware of the dangers? Apparently most children with lead poisoning have zero symptoms but the most horrific damage is caused to the brain, kidneys, nervous system, reproductive system and lots more. I read one article that said a baby who regularly puts keys in their mouth would have similar levels of lead in their blood to an adult who has worked intensively with lead throughout their life. All the info I could get online was American where they seem to be having awareness campaigns but nothing from the uk about the dangers with children & lead keys.
What makes it even worse is that although all our other keys are nickel plated which reduces the lead exposure, the keys my DS was given for his own are plain brass so they offer zero protection from the lead!
I just feel so sick, guilty, the worst mum ever.

DoreenLethal Mon 27-Jul-15 09:15:18

Were the keys that you gave your son brass?

Only1scoop Mon 27-Jul-15 09:15:51

I don't think many modern door keys contain brass now?

GGabcd Mon 27-Jul-15 09:17:17

I wouldn't worry until you get him tested.

GallopingFoxley Mon 27-Jul-15 09:19:59

Gosh you need to calm down! Honestly this is your anxiety talking. He'll be absolutely fine

Pantone363 Mon 27-Jul-15 09:21:28

Oh OP please try not to worry. See what the GP says.

Doreen, OP says her DS keys were brass

Spartans Mon 27-Jul-15 09:25:34

For a start stop reading stuff on the Internet.

My mum had a shadow on her lung and was 100% convinced it was cancer from reading the Internet. You can find all sorts of stuff on there that will scare you. At the moment you have no idea whether it's a problem or not.

Ds (now 4) was a milk monster but the worst eater, he didn't sleep. My dd was the same and she is very small for her age. Neither have lead poisoning. That's not proof that he has lead poisoning.

Please try to calm down as you panicking is not going to help anyone, least of all you or your child.

Coconutty Mon 27-Jul-15 09:27:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DoreenLethal Mon 27-Jul-15 09:28:42

Doreen, OP says her DS keys were brass

Yes but were they ACTUALLY brass?

NeedsAsockamnesty Mon 27-Jul-15 09:29:15

The likelihood of your sons keys being made of brass are not very high. Most gold keys these days are actually steal that's been plated.

If you have a magnet see if it sticks to the keys brass does not but steal does.

I could be wrong but it is my understanding that the usual way of children getting lead poisoning is by sucking or licking stuff that contains lead but actually flakes off or comes off in some other way like old toy cars with lead based paint where the paint actually gets eaten,whilst I wouldn't advise sucking lead and this is just a guess,I would think that it's significantly less likely to get lead poisoning when you don't actually swallow any lead if that makes sense.

Either way there is not a whole lot of point in freaking out and panicking about something that is so unlikely until you know you have something to panic about. Give your GP a call and find out if it's possible to get him tested and see what they say.

midnightvelvetPart2 Mon 27-Jul-15 09:33:59

Don't panic OP, don't get overwhelmed flowers

The probability is that he's not been poisoned, go & see the GP & explain & ask for the blood test.

You are not a bad mother, how could you protect from a possible danger when you had no idea it could even be present. Don't let guilt eat you up.

LIZS Mon 27-Jul-15 09:35:18

Unless the key were old , say pre 1970s, I doubt they would have had any significant lead content. Even then it has to be leeched out, such as with alcohol (pewter tankards for example had this issue ) or consumed (hence regulations about paint for cots and toys). Lead poisoning is rare. I think you are worrying unnecessarily.

ShipShapeAhoy Mon 27-Jul-15 09:36:07

I have had anxiety and became absolutely convinced I was hiv positive. I can hear anxiety in your op. I think the chances of lead being present in the keys is so slim and there is absolutely no point worrying until you've got something to worry about. Speak to your gp who will hopefully put your mind at ease, but maybe also mention anxiety to them.

Just to reassure, my dd loves keys, I saw a baby in a doctor's waiting room chewing on some keys... It's really common for little babies to chew on keys and if this was such a problem I'm pretty sure there'd have been an awareness campaign.

formerbabe Mon 27-Jul-15 09:46:39

I can also hear your anxiety op...I have terrible anxiety myself. It's really hard but try to stay calm and see what the doctors say and stop looking stuff up on the internet!

Both my dc have had changeable appetites by the way...and the sleep thing sounds fairly normal to me.

Take some deep breaths and have a cuppa

TheseventeenthSixteen Mon 27-Jul-15 09:49:03

Modern brass is made of zinc and copper. It won't have lead in it.

BumpTheElephant Mon 27-Jul-15 09:49:32

OP you need to calm down a bit.
Firstly you need to find out what the keys are actually made of - they may not contain any lead at all!
Do go to GP if you are worried but please don't read too much into the "symptoms". DS2 has never put a key in his mouth and has been a poor eater since weaning, never slept well and wears 18-24 month trousers at 3 yrs old.

MaidOfStars Mon 27-Jul-15 09:56:52

Our gold keys definitely do not stick to magnets (our key holder is magnetic).

GGabcd Mon 27-Jul-15 10:25:24

I can't find a single UK site that says anything about lead in keys. Only US.

Which makes me think they aren't actually made with any lead in the UK.

NittyDora Mon 27-Jul-15 10:44:58

Please don't worry too much, I had a hand me down cot from my much older cousins, so paint fromthe late 50s/early 60s. I chewed it so often and for so long I can remember the
taste of the paint. I've not been impaired in any way I've noticed.

Like others up thread I think you sound pretty anxious. This doesn't mean you don't have legitimate concerns just that they affect you more than someone with out anxiety. By all means get DS checked out. Once the anxiety over this has settled down use the clear space to address the anxiety, I've been where you are and my GP was great in pointing me in the direction of help.

NittyDora Mon 27-Jul-15 10:54:01

One other thing to remember is that US medicine is a pay to use business so stoking up anxiety is fairly normal, if not entirely ethical practice. It also depends on where the information has come from, somewhere like the CDC is likely to be more sensible than HelloDrNick's website.
Lastly, there's a stronger culture of litigation in the USA so sources from there give more weight to negative outcomes to cover themselves.

Bettercallsaul1 Mon 27-Jul-15 11:04:47

Ths dangers of lead are well-known, OP, and it is known that people can transfer lead into their bodies simply by handling it. The. Warhammer metal models that my son used to paint and play with as a child many years ago contained lead and were changed to a formula not containing lead as the models became popular as objects to be played with and handled as opposed to just being collected and looked at. I would be amazed if everyday objects like keys, which are handled constantly by people of all ages, were allowed to contain lead - it really is a substance that is being phased out because of its known dangers. I am sure, therefore, that there is nothing for you to worry about. In the extremely unlikely circumstance that that you son's keys did contain lead, it is absolutely not your fault as you had no inkling of it. You are not omnicient and have nothing to blame yourself for. But I am sure there are no grounds for concern.

Andorover Mon 27-Jul-15 11:14:57

It's really common for little babies to chew on keys and if this was such a problem I'm pretty sure there'd have been an awareness campaign.

I think this is pretty true. Also this:

One other thing to remember is that US medicine is a pay to use business so stoking up anxiety is fairly normal, if not entirely ethical practice. It also depends on where the information has come from, somewhere like the CDC is likely to be more sensible than HelloDrNick's website. Lastly, there's a stronger culture of litigation in the USA so sources from there give more weight to negative outcomes to cover themselves.

I have also had horrendous anxiety about my kids' health OP - and it does sound like you are in the midst of it raging. Definitely see your Dr, but also think about the statements people have made above about how it's highly unlikely what you fear has happened has actually happened. flowers

schokolade Mon 27-Jul-15 11:24:05

Lead is around much more in the USA. When I moved into my (newly painted) apartment in 2010 I was given a leaflet that advised against licking the walls (!) And telling me to take my shoes off inside due to lead in soil. Lots of asbestos warnings too.

go to the doc but don't get wound up by US sites.

GardenDragon Mon 27-Jul-15 11:39:59

I know it is difficult as you have got yourself really worried over this but I don't think your DS is in any danger. I remember chewing on a battery when I was about 5- it actually tasted good - not a recommendation by the way- I also had a go at some coins and remember nearly choking on one. Our current house I believe has lead pipes. As far as I can tell I have no impairments and I eat like a horse and always have! Just take him to your GP to be sure but like most people have said it is probably fine. Keys in the US may not be made of the same material as ours anyway.

TheRealAmyLee Mon 27-Jul-15 11:46:19

Lead in anything is super super rare these days. I am 99% sure that he is unharmed and it is just you harmed by the power of google. Go to docs if you are worried but I imagine there hasn't been any lead near any of your keys and certainly not the new ones you had cut. I see kids chomping on keys all the time. I know mine did and they are all unharmed!

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