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Younger Child Safety (3-5 years)

If your child is between 3 and 5 years old, they’ll likely be extremely active, curious, and interested in trying new things. 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 younger child faces, and what actions you can take to help keep them safe.

At this stage of development

Younger children this age will likely try to climb higher, jump farther, and run faster than ever. They’re exploring their world more fully, grabbing things, and testing physical limits. They’ll enjoy make-believe and pretending, become more adventurous around water, and be more confident than their experience warrants. On the streets, they’ll innocently believe that drivers can always see and stop for them, and they may know the safety rules, but likely won’t truly understand them.

Top safety concerns for your younger child

  • Falling from chairs, beds, and stairs
  • Choking or strangulation
  • Swallowing poisons like medicine and cleaning products
  • Burns from hot liquids
  • Being hurt in a car crash
  • Being hit by a car when walking or crossing the street
  • Drowning—in a tub, pool, or body of water

Safety at home

  • Attach heavy furniture and televisions to the wall with safety straps.
  • Turn pot handles in toward the back of the stove.
  • Keep hot liquids and appliance cords out of reach.
  • Tie up blind cords.
  • Keep windows locked, and keep furniture away from windows to discourage climbing.
  • Check to make sure that handrails are secure on all staircases.
  • Stay with your child at all times during bath time.
  • Use cupboard locks.
  • Keep all poisons, including medicines, vitamins, 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 or booster seat on every ride, even when travelling in a taxi.
  • Use a car seat with a five-point harness seat until your child is at least 40 pounds (18 kg) and 4 years old.
  • Some car seats can hold a child up to 65 pounds (30 kg).
  • Wait until your child is heavier than 40 pounds (18 kg) and over 4 years old before you start using a booster seat.
  • Stay close when your child is playing near anywhere there could be cars.
  • Hold your child’s hand to cross the street or when in a parking lot.

Car seats save lives and protect kids from injury in a car crash.

Learn more about how to choose, install, and use a car seat.

Safety at play

  • Always be able to see and reach for your child when you’re in or near water, and keep a life jacket on your child at all times.
  • Be a role model and wear your helmet.
  • 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.
  • Make sure that your child uses outdoor play equipment that is designed for his or her 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.
  • Let your child take healthy risks and be active when they play.
  • Follow age recommendations on toys.
  • Keep the battery door closed tight on toys, remotes, and other household items that use batteries.


Helmets save lives and help protect kids (and adults) from injury.

Learn more about how to choose, fit, and wear a helmet.

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