Health and Safety, Ages 2 to 5 Years
Health and Safety, Ages 2 to 5 Years
Safety Measures Around the Home
You can help
protect your child from accidents and injuries by taking general safety
measures around your home. Think ahead about what potentially dangerous
situations will attract your child. Supervise your child, but keep in mind that constant hovering over children can limit their experiences
and confidence. Balancing supervision with safety precautions will help prevent
accidents and injuries as well as allow children to explore.
following are common accidents and injuries that can occur around the house,
and some suggestions on how to prevent them.
Preventing falls isn't always easy.
Toddlers and young children often move quickly. Their excitement about their
mobility and their lack of experience can make them unaware of dangers, such as
stairs or hills. Children ages 4 to 5 years anticipate many dangers,
but they may not have the physical skills to avoid accidents. Some ways to help prevent falls are to:
- Use sliding gates at both ends of stairways.
- Use safety straps in high chairs and changing tables.
Children ages 2 to 5
years can easily choke on everyday objects and food. Your child needs your
supervision even though he or she may be able to eat independently.
Prevent choking. Your child can choke on things smaller
than 1.25 in. (3.2 cm) in
diameter and 2.25 in. (5.7 cm) long. These include button batteries and coins. Keep items like these out of your child's reach.
- Learn to recognize
signs of choking. For
example, a child who is choking can't talk, cry, breathe, or cough.
Strangulation and suffocation
household items can strangle a young child. Make sure that loose cords, objects, and
furniture don't pose strangling risks.
- Keep cords for blinds and drapes out of
reach. Attach cords to mounts that hold them taut, and wrap them around wall
brackets. Cords with loops should be cut and equipped with safety
- Do not use accordion-style gates. Babies and young
children can get their heads trapped in the gate and may
- Make sure that furniture doesn't have cutout portions or
other areas that can trap your child's head.
Suffocation is another danger for young children. Teach
your child about suffocation and the importance of a safe play area. Pay
attention to possible suffocation dangers, such as:
- Trunks of cars. Keep rear fold-down seats
closed so children aren't able to climb into the trunk from inside the car.
Also, always lock car doors and keep the keys out of sight and out of reach of
- Refrigerators and freezers, even those that aren't in
use. If you are storing an old refrigerator or freezer, be sure to take off the
- Plastic sacks. Don't let your child play with plastic
sacks. Keep them out of reach. Children may put sacks over their
head during play, which can lead to suffocation.
- Prevent poisoning from common household items. Identify any products that could harm your child when eaten or inhaled. Store these products out of your child's reach. If you have a possible
poisoning emergency, call 1-800-222-1222. For more
information, see the topic
- Prevent lead poisoning.
Children may chew on contaminated
paint flakes, painted objects, or toys. Homes built before 1978
may still have lead paint on walls and other surfaces.
For more information about lead, see the topic Lead Poisoning.
- Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning (CO). Use a carbon monoxide detector, and have your furnace checked each year. High CO levels quickly affect young children because of their small size. For
more information, see the topic Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.
- Avoid secondhand smoke, mold, and other indoor air pollutants. They can affect health and safety. For more information, see Tips for Reducing Indoor Pollutants in Your Home.
Fire hazards and burns
- Prevent household fires by having and maintaining smoke detectors, planning and practicing
escape routes, and teaching your child basic fire safety skills. Children
ages 2 to 5 are often curious about fire. Warn your child about
the dangers of fire, and explain why only grown-ups are allowed to use
- Prevent burns. Serious burns are most often caused by heat,
electricity, or chemicals. Prevent burn injuries to your
child by identifying dangers in your home and removing them or blocking your
child's access to them. For more information, see the topic
- Enjoy fireworks from a distance.
Fireworks injure children each summer. Children can also get burns from using and being
around firecrackers and sparklers.
Guns and other weapons
Gun and firearm safety measures should be established for all households and especially those
where children live or visit. Keep all guns and firearms in a locked
area, unloaded, and out of reach of children. Also, store knives (even kitchen
knives), swords, and other weapons safely out of reach.
Teach children how to interact with pets. Teach them to never tease animals or bother them while they are eating. Explain that animals can sometimes hurt you. Also be sure to train your own
pets and keep them healthy.
Children younger than 5 years of age die
from drowning more than any other age group.1 Help
prevent drowning by following these tips:
In addition to these precautions, learn first aid and
CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Knowing these
skills can make the difference between life and death in an emergency
situation. For more information, see the topic
Dealing With Emergencies.
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
November 26, 2012
©1995-2012, Healthwise, Incorporated, P.O. Box 1989, Boise, ID 83701.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
For more information,
How this information was developed.