Keeping your child healthy and safe: 3 to 5 years

Find out how to keep your child healthy and safe at 3 - 5 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 to eat many different foods every day. Give them lots of small meals and healthy snacks. Water and milk are the best drinks for your child.

Keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy by brushing their teeth twice a day with just a smear of regular-strength fluoride toothpaste. Lift your child’s lip once a 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).

Immunisation (due at 4 years old) protects your child from serious diseases.

Have a smokefree home and car.

You can get your young child off to a great start by getting involved in their learning early. Find out more about Early Learning on the Ministry of Education website.

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 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 Baby and child sickness danger signs.

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. Know what your child can do physically and stay close by so that you can help them when they need you.

If your child rides a bike or a scooter, make sure that they wear a helmet and shoes to protect their head and feet. Bikes and scooters should not be ridden on the road. Always hold your child’s hand to cross the road. Use a child car seat in all cars, for all trips. Move them to a booster seat only when they are too tall or too heavy for their car seat.

Never shake, hit or smack your child – if you feel that you might lose control, ask for help.

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 having very few 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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