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How to SipSafe: Guide

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Publication Number: P3483
View as PDF: P3483.pdf

Why water testing?1,2

  • Infants and children are at a higher risk for lead exposure than adults. This risk of lead exposure comes from drinking tap water. It is useful to take proactive measures to keep children safe.

How does lead get into drinking water?1,2,3

  • Copper pipes with lead solder made or installed before 1986.
  • Lead service lines.
  • Lead plumbing systems.

The good news!1,2

  • With a few simple steps, lead exposure can be decreased.

Goals for SipSafe

  • Test water for lead to prevent further lead exposure.
  • Participate in SipSafe training to use safe practices for reducing lead in drinking water.
  • Communicate clearly with parents about steps being taken to protect their children from further exposure.
  • Protect the health and well-being of children and staff throughout this program.

How do we get started?

  • On-site water samples will be taken by an MSU Extension employee for testing purposes.

What are we looking for?

  • We hope to find no significant traces of lead in the water.

Protocol for testing

  • The evening before the samples are collected, the number and location of faucets and water fountains will be recorded.
  • The samples will be collected in the morning, before any active use by the facility.
  • A water sample from each faucet will be taken and labeled.


  • Within 2 weeks of the initial tests, results will be shared with the facility to determine if action is needed.

Taking action

  • If lead is found in a sample, steps will be taken to decrease lead levels in the water through SipSafe training.
  • If lead levels in the sample exceed the action level of 15 ppm, results will be documented. Recommendation for replacement and remediation will take place.

1CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.

2CDC’s Lead fact sheet.

3EPA’s Basic Information about Lead in Drinking Water.

This project is funded by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act 2107: Lead Testing in School and Child Care Program Drinking Water Grant for 2018 and 2019.

For more information, please contact Jason R. Barrett at or visit

Is your childcare center part of this project? Please take this brief survey and tell us what you think!

Take the survey.

Publication 3483 (04-22)

By Leah Gann, Extension Associate I, Water Resources Institute; Carley C. Morrison, PhD, Assistant Professor, Human Sciences; and Jason R. Barrett, PhD, Associate Extension Professor, Water Resources Institute.

Copyright 2022 by Mississippi State University. All rights reserved. This publication may be copied and distributed without alteration for nonprofit educational purposes provided that credit is given to the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Produced by Agricultural Communications.

Mississippi State University is an equal opportunity institution. Discrimination in university employment, programs, or activities based on race, color, ethnicity, sex, pregnancy, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, or any other status protected by applicable law is prohibited.

Extension Service of Mississippi State University, cooperating with U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published in furtherance of Acts of Congress, May 8 and June 30, 1914. GARY B. JACKSON, Director

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Portrait of Dr. Jason Barrett
Associate Extension Professor
Community Development, Economics & Natural Resources, Water & Wastewater Utilities
Portrait of Ms. Leah Elizabeth Gann
Extension Agent II

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