Health and Safety, Ages 2 to 5 Years
Health and Safety, Ages 2 to 5 Years
Safety Measures Outside the Home
You can't protect
your child from every danger that he or she can possibly encounter outside the home.
But you can equip your child with some basic safety rules and precautions. Let
your child's natural surroundings give you
ideas for general training to help prepare
your child for a variety of situations he or she may face.
avoid accidents, injuries, and unsafe situations outside the home, establish
and review basic rules before outings. Reinforce the rules often. And let other caregivers know about them.
Basic safety precautions
- Help your child be safe in and around motor vehicles. Teach your child basic rules about the
dangers of streets, cars, and other vehicles.
- Help prevent child abduction. Teach children
to be cautious of strangers, and teach them how to react when they feel they are
threatened. Remember that most children who
are abducted aren't taken by strangers but rather by a parent, a relative,
a family friend, or an acquaintance.
- Prevent sunburns on sunny days. Put a hat and loose clothing on your child and apply sunscreen if he or she will be outdoors. Watch for heat exhaustion. Don't
keep your child out in warm weather for long periods. For more information, see Sunburn and
- Help your child prevent insect stings and spider bites. Use
insect repellents, and have your child wear closed shoes, socks, and clothes that fully cover his or her
body when outdoors. For more information, see Insect Bites and Stings and Spider Bites.
- Keep your child safe on the playground. Make sure all
play equipment is safe, in good repair, and appropriate for your child's age.
Closely supervise all young children while they are playing on any
Before your child visits an unfamiliar home, ask whether
you need to be aware of any dangerous areas, weapons in the home, pets, or
other safety issues. Also, it is always a good idea to see the household
for yourself. Don't be afraid to voice any concerns you have about safety. You
are ultimately responsible for protecting your child.
Choosing child care
Before enrolling your child in
day care, evaluate the environment and talk with the care providers.
Ask questions about their safety guidelines. Identify any hazards, and ask
how they are handled. For more information, see the topic
Choosing Child Care.
Going along for the ride: Exercising caution
parents and caregivers want to share their favorite activities with their young
children. This can help build common interests and appreciation for exercise
and other pursuits. Be sure, though, to recognize the safety issues related to
these activities. Remember that your child's comfort and safety are most
- Always use a car seat and have your child ride in the backseat of your car. Car accidents are the leading cause of death and injury
in young children. Follow
basic guidelines established by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). See the AAP website at www.healthychildren.org.
- Never leave your child alone in a car. Heat
inside the car and other factors could cause long-lasting injury—or death—in a
matter of minutes. Keeping the car windows down won't protect
your child in hot or warm weather. Other injuries could also occur from a child
getting stuck in the trunk or setting the car in motion.
- Keep your child safe in strollers and carts. Use the safety straps, and follow the printed instructions. It's safest not to put children in shopping carts at all.
- Use extra caution when riding bikes and tricycles. Make sure that you and your child always wear
helmets and practice safe riding habits, such as avoiding busy streets. Bike
only during daylight hours.
- If your child rides a scooter, watch him or her at all times. Don't let your child ride near traffic. And have your child wear a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads. Wait until your child is a little older before you teach skateboard safety. It's not safe for children younger than 5 to use skateboards.
- Monitor air pollution before outdoor
activities. Children's lungs are especially sensitive to pollution. You can
check your newspaper or local weather station for details about air pollution
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
November 26, 2012
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