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NYS Parent Guide

24-36 Months: Growth and Development

You and Your Terrific Two-Year-Old

Protecting Your Child

Protecting Your Child

Toddlers are active and curious learners. They need to explore, touch, climb, throw, open, pour, examine and act. They don’t yet understand limits or safety rules and have very little self-control. So they need you to guide them, protect them and keep them safe.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Protect your toddler from the house and the house from him. It is better to put dangerous or breakable things out of reach than always saying “no”. That only invites conflict as he tries to be independent.
  • Protect him outside too. Toddlers do not understand the possible dangers in playgrounds, streets and yards. Watch and think ahead about what he might get into. And remember, no matter how “grown up” he may seem, he is depending on you to keep him safe.
  • Limit how much TV he watches and what he watches. Your toddler can’t yet tell the difference between what is real and what is pretend. Scary or violent images can be scary—even if he is playing in the same room where a TV is on. This can lead to behavior problems, nightmares, and trouble sleeping.
  • Protect your child—and other people. He needs you to step in and take over if he may hurt himself or another person. Acknowledge his feelings as you prevent harmful behavior: “I know it is fun to ride your tractor, but you can’t ride it into the road. A car might hit you.” Or, “ I see you are angry but you can’t throw sand at your sister; it can hurt her!)
  • Never leave your toddler near or around water without someone watching him. Fence off backyard pools. Dump out small wading pools after each use. Toddlers love to play in and with water but do not understand the potential danger.
  • Keep your toddler healthy. Continue with all well-baby care appointments and doctor recommendations. Encourage your child to practice self-care skills like washing hands, eating healthy foods and brushing teeth. This can be tricky because he wants to do all these by himself even though he needs your help. So try to be patient, give him a chance to do what he can and lend a hand when needed.

Useful Resources:

Child Safety Tips

For information on how to keep your toddler safe and healthy, visit:

Find a Local Dentist

For information on finding a dentist to visit with your child, go to:

additional resources My E-Journal

Did you know

Dental caries (tooth decay) in primary (baby) teeth can affect children’s growth, result in significant pain and potentially life-threatening infection, and diminish overall quality of life. For more information see The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry: Guideline on Infant Oral Health Care, 2012 at