Assessing knowledge differences between daycare staff and parents
lead sources and health risks for children
Background and Purpose: Most Canadians have lead in their blood and it has been shown that even low levels of lead can cause harm. Children are the most susceptible population to the harmful effects of lead due to their increased absorption and earlier stages of brain development. Lead exposure in children has been shown to have negative and irreversible effects, including delayed development and reduced neurological function. As parents and daycare staff have the most interaction with young children, their health knowledge is important for minimizing day-to-day exposures. This research project assessed the level of knowledge of daycare staff and parents of young children on lead sources and health risks. Methods: An in-person, self-administered knowledge survey was given to parents and Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) at daycare centres located in Surrey, BC and Burnaby, BC. The data was then analyzed using SAS statistical software to compare the two groups using a chi square test. Results: Daycare staff and parents showed no significant differences in knowledge levels. The mean score on the knowledge test for daycare workers was 39.98 +14.77% and for parents was 30.73 +16.53%. Both groups had significant gaps in knowledge on lead, its sources, its risks for children, and preventive measures. Conclusion: Daycare staff and parents have an important role in minimizing children’s exposure to lead. Identifying knowledge gaps in these groups can lead to more targeted health promotion projects as well as changes to education and training.