Keeping your child healthy and safe – 2 to 3 years

Find out how to keep your child healthy and safe at 2–3 years of age.

Keep your child healthy

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

Your child needs lots of small meals and healthy snacks. Water and milk are the best drinks to give them.

Keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy by brushing their teeth twice a day with a smear of regular-strength fluoride toothpaste. Your child needs your help to brush their teeth until they are 8 or 9 years old. Lift the lip each month to check for signs of tooth decay (holes). Make sure that your child is enrolled with and attends regular visits at the Community Oral Health Service (0800 825 583).

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 and from Kidshealth. If your child is sick and doesn’t seem to be getting 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 move quickly so you need to watch them at all times, especially when there are lots of people around or they are in unfamiliar places. Important things to think about are water, electricity, poisons, sun, choking, fire and road safety.

Find safe places for them to play, crawl, walk, run, jump and climb. 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 they can’t get on the driveway, on the road or in the water. If your child rides a bike or a scooter, make sure that they wear a helmet and shoes to protect their head and feet. Always hold your child’s hand to cross the road.

Use a child car seat in all cars, for all trips.

Keep medicines, lighters, matches and candles where your child can’t reach them and make sure they can’t reach anything that might burn them, such as hot pans 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 children aged 2 to 12 years – HealthEd (Health Promotion Agency and Ministry of Health)
Food information for children aged 2–12. Includes healthy eating, daily physical activity, good eating behaviours, food groups and variety, healthy food including fruit and vegetables, vitamins and protein, vegetarian options, healthy snacks, drinking plenty of fluids, and limiting takeaways.

Keeping kids safe – Trading Standards
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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