1. When a child attains a weight of 40 pounds and your child’s ears have reached the top of the car seat, a booster seat may be used. When a child reaches a height of 4 feet 9 inches regular seat belts may be used. Even after your child has outgrown the child car safety seat, if at all possible, continue to avoid placing your child in an automobile seat which is equipped with an air bag. Air bags are designed for adults and are very dangerous for small children. Minor traffic accidents which result in the deployment of air bags have been known to kill small children in accidents that otherwise would have had no injuries.  Children should not sit in the front seat until they are 13 years old.
  2. Keep knives and other sharp objects out of reach.
  3. Teach your child the danger of following a ball or an animal into the street, but do not depend upon your child remembering such instructions. The child playing near the street should be closely supervised.
  4. Advise your child to be careful around and to avoid strange dogs, cats and other animals.  Strive to provide protection for your child from animal bites. Significant animal bites are a particularly bothersome problem at this age. Pets at home can also pose significant danger to children. If your child is bitten by an animal, consult the section on bites in this handbook.
  5. Even though your child may know how to swim, he or she is not “water safe” at this age.  Close supervision while swimming is a must. It is a good idea to begin to teach your child to swim at this age. Swimming pools should be completely enclosed with a fence and a gate which closes automatically.
  6. Your child should be taught his or her name, parent’s name, address and telephone number.  Additionally, your child should be taught not to go with strangers or to accept any food or candy from strangers. Make a plan with your child as to what they should do if they get lost from you. Here are a few pointers:  teach your child your real first and last name (not mommy and daddy), teach them to find a mother with children to ask for help, often talk about what to do if they get lost, and role play with others to rehearse this information.
  7. Your child should be taught what to do in case of a fire in the home. It is a good idea to have a “fire drill” to prepare for the possibility of a fire in your home. For bedrooms in two story homes, rope ladders can be purchased and stored in an accessible place for use in case of fire.
  8. Your child’s vision should be tested before starting school at 5 years of age. If at any age a child develops the following then you should bring them in for a vision check up: eyes that turn inward (crossing) or outward, squinting, headaches, not doing as well in school work as before, blurred or double vision or red eyes.
  9. Speech and hearing should also be something of which you take notice. If your child has a poor response to noise or voice, has slow language or speech development, or abnormal sounding speech you should have a hearing evaluation done.
  10. Build healthy life-style habits:  Blood pressure should be measured regularly starting around the age of three years. It is a good idea to begin lifestyle habits at this age to maintain a healthy blood pressure, a normal weight and normal glucose metabolism.  You should limit salt intake, maintain a normal body weight, avoid sugary drinks and foods such as soda pop and candy and promote plenty of exercise to keep your child’s blood pressure and weight normal. The habits you build now, may be present for life. Obesity and hypertension are silent killers.  Avoid these with healthy life-style choices.  See the section on obesity that follows in this handbook.
  11. The use of trampolines is quite dangerous for children. Their use should be avoided. If you choose to use one anyway, make sure a perimeter safety net is attached to the trampoline. Trampoline parks regularly send kids to the hospital with significant injuries.
  12. Other safety approaches mentioned earlier still apply to this age.
Reviewed by Dr. Byrum 3/27/17