If your child is between 1 and 3 years old, they may be behaving much more independently than ever before. But keep in mind that their brain is still in very early stages of development, and they still depend on you completely for their health and safety. The best way to protect them is to be aware of the risks your toddler faces, and what actions you can take to help keep them safe.
At this stage of development
Between 1 and 3 years old, your young child could be learning to climb higher, jump farther, and run faster than you’d expect. They’ll be interested in exploring areas that used to be out of reach, playing with things that are not toys, and might be drawn to water. They’ll also be interested in copying the actions and reactions of other people.
Top safety concerns for your toddler
- Falling from chairs, beds, stairs, and windows
- Choking or strangulation
- Swallowing poisons like medicine and cleaning products
- Burns from hot liquids or from touching something hot
- Being hurt in a car crash
- Being hit by a car when walking or crossing the street
- Drowning (even in a tub with very little water)
Safety at home
- Move your child from a crib to a toddler bed (or to a mattress on the floor) if your child has tried to climb out of the crib.
- Attach heavy furniture to the wall, keep furniture away from windows, and tie up blind cords.
- Use a baby gate that screws into the wall at the top of the stairs and a pressure mounted gate at the bottom of the stairs.
- Always be able to see and be able to reach for your child during bath time.
- Place corner guards on furniture with sharp edges or temporarily remove risky furniture.
- Keep windows locked, and keep furniture away from windows so your child can’t climb up to reach the window.
- Turn pot handles in towards the back of the stove. Use the back burners when possible.
- Use cupboard locks.
- Keep all poisons, including medicines, vitamins, tobacco, and cleaning products, up high or in a locked cupboard.
- Add your local poison control numbers to your phone contact list: in NS and PEI call 1-800-565-8161, in NB call 811 or 911, and in NL call 1-844-POISONX.
Safety on the road
- Drive slowly, cautiously, and with complete and total awareness of your surroundings.
- Always use a car seat on every ride in a car, truck, or van, even when travelling in a taxi.
- Keep your child in a rear-facing seat for as long as they fit within the limits of that seat.
- Buckle all parts of the harness and tighten it until it fits snugly.
- When your child outgrows the limits of their rear-facing seat, read your car seat manual to find out how to change your car seat to forward facing.
- Always use the top tether for your child’s forward-facing car seat.
- Place the harness straps of your child’s forward-facing seat in the slot at or above the child’s shoulders.
- Carry your child or hold your child’s hand around traffic or when in a parking lot.
Car seats save lives and protect kids from injury in a car crash.
Safety at play
- Follow age recommendations on toys.
- If a toy fits in a toilet paper roll, it’s too small.
- Keep the battery door closed tight on toys, remotes, and other things that use batteries.
- Choose the right helmet for your child’s sports and activities.
- Make sure your child’s helmet fits properly by using the 2V1 Rule: two fingers above the eyebrows, straps form a V under the ears, and one finger under the chin strap.
- Stay close enough to reach your child in or around water, including bath tubs, pools, and open water.
- Your child should always wear a life jacket when in or near water outdoors.
- Help your child learn and grow by taking healthy risks and being active when they play.
- Make sure that your child uses outdoor play equipment that’s designed for their age.
- Choose playgrounds with gravel, sand, wood chips, or rubber on the ground.
- Remove scarves and drawstrings from your child’s clothing when playing outside.
- Supervise your child closely while using outdoor play equipment.
- Send in the warranty card for new toddler play equipment and toys.
Helmets save lives and help protect kids (and adults) from injury.