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Health & Safety for Toddlers (2 - 3 years)

mom holding toddler daughter

Health & Safety for Toddlers (2 - 3 years)

toddler walking outside with parents holding her hands

As your child becomes a toddler, they start to move around a lot more. This means they will come across more dangers. Dangerous situations can happen quickly both at home and out in the world. You need to keep an eye on your child to keep them out of danger. This is also the time that you need to “toddler-proof” your home. We have provided some tips, information, and resources to help you keep your toddler healthy and safe. 

Toddler Health and Safety Tips

cabinet with safety closures

Safety at Home

  • Place plug covers on all unused electrical outlets
  • Block off stairs with a small gate or fence across them
  • Lock doors to hazardous areas, such as the garage, bathroom or basement
  • Keep kitchen appliances, irons and heaters out of reach 
  • Turn handles on pots and pans towards the back of the stove 
  • Lock up medicines, cleaners and chemicals in cabinets with safety latches
  • Keep sharp objects like scissors, knives and pens in a safe place, away from your child’s reach
  • Store any guns in a locked area your toddler can’t get to
  • Check toys often for loose or broken parts
  • Encourage your toddler to sit when eating and chew their food completely to prevent choking
girl toddler taking a big bite out of a slice of watermelon

Healthy Eating

  • Instead of sugary drinks, give your toddler water and plain milk. Even after that first year, when they start to eat more solid foods, breast milk can be an ideal addition to their diet
  • Toddlers might become picky eaters. Offer different healthy foods and let them choose what they want
  • What foods your toddler likes may change from day to day. This is normal. Keep trying new foods by offering small bites to taste along with foods they like
  • Many toddlers have low iron, so make sure they eat foods high in iron, like meat, fish, chicken, beans, leafy green vegetables, whole grains and enriched breads and cereals
  • If you your toddler goes to child care, talk to them to see if they serve healthier foods and drinks
mom and dad on couch reading to toddler

Healthy Minds

  • Read, sing and have normal conversations with your toddler to help their brains develop
  • Read their favorite books over and over again
  • Limit screen time. Develop a media use plan for your family and keep TV sets out of your child’s bedroom
  • Provide enough opportunities for sleep – the recommend amount of sleep for toddlers 1 – 2 years old is 11 – 14 hours per day (over a 24-hour period, including naps)

Water Safety

Drowning is the leading cause of injury and death for toddlers. A toddler can drown in a couple inches of water.

  • Stay with your child and supervise them while they are in the bath
  • Use slip proof mats both inside and outside the tub
  • Always drain the tub right away
  • Keep the toilet lid closed 
  • Never leave your toddler alone near water (tubs, pools, ponds, lakes, etc.)
  • Put barriers around backyard pools and hot tubs 
toddler lathering up hair with soap suds
toddler strapped in car seat looking out the car window

Car Safety

  • Do not Leave your child alone in any vehicle (car, truck, van, SUV) for even a few moments
  • Keep your child’s car seat rear-facing as long as possible, it’s the best way to keep them safe. Your child should remain rear-facing until reaching the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat manufacturer
  • When your child is able to sit in a forward-facing car seat, make sure they are properly secured in the car seat with a harness and a buckle in the back seat of the vehicle

Healthy Bodies

Toddlers move constantly – running, jumping, climbing and playing. Let them be active. They are developing their coordination and getting stronger

Encourage free play as much as possible. This helps them stay active and strong while developing fine and gross motor skills

Toddlers should brush their teeth twice each day using a soft child’s toothbrush with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste

toddler running through sprinklers


Get Toddler Parenting Essentials

Find expert advice on common parenting challenges. Fun videos and “how-to’s” for positive parenting skills. Interactive activities and quick tips from the Center for Disease Control.

Get Positive Parenting Tips

Find positive things you can do as a parent broken out for every age group, in English and Spanish, from the Center for Disease Control.

Get Toddler Nutrition Info

Starting good nutrition practices early can help children develop healthy dietary patterns. Get information and practical strategies on healthy foods and drinks for toddlers from the Center for Disease Control.

Get Toddler Tips

Find information on health, nutrition, behavior and fitness for toddlers. Plus, find tips on everything from tantrums to toilet training from the American Academy of Pediatrics.