Keeping your child healthy and safe: 1 to 2 years

Find out how to keep your child healthy and safe at 1–2 years of age.

Keep your child healthy

Keep your child healthy by giving them healthy food and drinks, looking after their teeth, immunising them and being smokefree.

Your child needs three small meals a day and small, healthy snacks in between. Water and full-fat cow’s milk are the best drinks for your child.

Keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy by brushing their teeth twice a day with a smear of regular-strength fluoride toothpaste. Lift your child’s upper lip every month to check for signs of tooth decay (holes) and make sure that your child is enrolled with the Community Oral Health Service (0800 825 583).

Immunisation (due at 15 months) helps to protect your child from serious diseases.

Have a smokefree home and car.

Babies and young children get sick often – coughs and colds are a normal part of childhood. They will usually get better after a few days. You can find out more about childhood illnesses or from Kidshealth. If your child is sick and doesn’t seem to be getting any better, or you are worried about your child, ring Healthline (0800 611 116) or take them to their doctor or practice nurse.

Get help quickly from a doctor or phone 111 if your child shows any of the danger signs listed here.

Keep your child safe

Your child may start to walk at 9–15 months of age. Important things to think about to keep your child safe are water, electricity, poisons, sun, choking, fire and road safety.

Give your child safe places to play, crawl, walk, run, jump and climb. Stay close by so that you can help them when they need you. Inside, take care to avoid falls by blocking off stairs and unsafe places and keeping cot, bed and chairs and stools away from open windows. If your child is playing outside, make sure that the area where they are is fenced so that they can’t get on the driveway, on the road or in water. Always watch your child in or near water.

Use a car seat in all cars, for all trips. Car seats should remain rear facing until your child is 2 years old.

Young children can choke easily, so make sure that your child sits down to eat, and stay with them while they eat. Don’t give your child hard foods such as nuts and small, hard lollies.

Store medicines, lighters, matches and candles out of your child’s reach and make sure that they can’t reach anything that might burn them, such as hot pans and heaters. Use fire guards around wood burners, open fires and heaters.

Never shake, hit or smack your child – if you feel you might lose control, put them in a safe place and walk away for a short time.

Related websites

Eating for healthy babies and toddlers – HealthEd (Health Promotion Agency and Ministry of Health)
Food information for babies and toddlers from birth to 2 years old. Includes breastfeeding and the benefits of breastmilk, formula feeding, drinking plenty of fluids, starting solids, how to prevent choking, healthy eating habits, and meal ideas for babies and toddlers.

Keeping kids safe – Product Safety New Zealand
Choosing safe products and learning to use them safely can help to keep your kids safe. The products on this page are covered by product standards.

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