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NYS Parent Guide

36-48 Months: Growth and Development

You and Your Thriving Three-Year-Old

Protecting Your Child

Protecting Your Child

Three-year-olds are beginning to understand boundaries and safety rules, but still need plenty of guidance and reminders. Here are some ways to think about protecting your three-year-old:

Here are some things you can do:

  • Keep her safe at home. Now that she can open containers and doors, climb and jump, take another look around to be sure your home is as safe as possible. Keep reminding her of rules and stay consistent as you hold her to them.
  • Protect her from potential outdoor dangers. When outside and “in action,” remind her of outdoor safety rules and make sure they are followed. For example: hold hands when crossing streets; stay on the sidewalk; always wear a helmet on riding toys.
  • Avoid scary messages and pictures on TV or in books. She does not yet know what is real and pretend. And her imagination is in high gear. No matter how silly a cartoon figure may seem to you, it may scare her. And her feelings are real.
  • Keep her healthy. Continue her well-care care appointments and recommended immunizations. Guide her to wash her hands often during the day. Help her learn to brush her teeth. Serve her healthy foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat milk or yogurt. Though she most likely has learned to use the toilet, accidents happen. Help her change into dry clothes in a matter-of-fact way and move on with your day.
  • Use an approved forward facing car seat with a harness—as
    long as possible
    . You will find height and weight limits on the
    seat or the maker’s website. When she outgrows the seat, it will
    be time for her to use a booster seat. It should always be in the
    back seat. Make it a rule: that she can only undo her belt when
    the car is stopped and you have turned off the motor.

Useful Resources:

Child Safety Tips

For information on how to keep you preschooler safe and healthy, visit:

additional resources My E-Journal

Did you know

By age 3, many children are watching TV shows on various devices. Your pediatrician’s advice is to limit screen time to 1-2 hours per day of programs made for children (see PBS Broadcasting) and not before bedtime. A better alternative is to spend time together. (KANESHIRO, 2013)

Did you know

It is recommended that preschoolers eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

Did you know

Children, ages two to six placed in child restraints (car seats with harness) were 28% less likely to be killed in a crash than those who were restrained in seat belts alone. ARCHIVES OF PEDIATRIC AND ADOLESCENT MEDICINE, 2006