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Health and Safety, Ages 2 to 5 Years


Overview

This topic suggests ways to help prevent illness and accidental injuries in young children. It does not cover every risk that a child faces, but it does cover many of the most common hazards and situations that can be dangerous to children ages 2 to 5 years.

Why should you be concerned about your child’s health and safety?

Children in this age range are gaining many new skills and feel more and more independent. They may be curious, want to explore the world around them, and act without thinking. This can lead to dangerous situations.

What can you do to help keep your child safe?

Your child is gaining in confidence and probably wants to explore. But your child still needs your close supervision and guidance. You can:

  • Set up and consistently enforce rules and limits to help your child learn about dangers.
  • Supervise your child and teach your child some basic safety rules and precautions for inside and outside the home. For example, teach your child to always use the car seat and that ovens and toasters can cause burns.
  • Practice healthy habits to protect your child against illness and infection. For example, wash your hands often and keep toys clean, make sure your child is immunized, and go to all well-child visits.
  • Take safety measures around the home. For example, store poisonous products out of your child's reach, and use safety covers on all electrical outlets.

Understand that your child will go through active and curious phases. Recognize these periods, and think about what you can do to avoid safety hazards. If your child is discovering the joys of riding a tricycle, for example, be sure to make riding in the street off limits.

No one can watch a child’s every move or make a home 100% safe all the time. Try to find a balance among supervising your child, taking safety precautions, and allowing your child to explore.

How can your stress level affect your child's safety?

Taking care of yourself is a vital part of keeping your child safe. Most injuries to children happen when parents or caregivers are tired, hungry, or emotionally drained or are having relationship problems. Other common causes of family stress include changes in daily routines, moving to a new house, or expecting another child.

Learn all you can about child growth and development. Doing so can help you learn what to expect and how to handle certain situations.

If you feel stressed, get help. Talk to your doctor or your child's doctor, or see a counselor. Get together regularly with family and friends, or join a parenting group.

Call right away if you feel you are about to hurt yourself or your child.

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