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Health and Safety, Birth to 2 Years - Topic Overview

This topic suggests ways to help prevent illness and accidental injuries in babies and young children. It doesn't cover every risk that a child faces. But it does cover many of the most common hazards and situations that can be dangerous to a child in this age range.

What can you expect from your child at this age?

Watching your child grow is a wonder. But there are concerns in this age range:

  • Your child cannot understand and recognize danger. You need to take steps to keep your child safe from everyday hazards, both inside and outside the home.
  • Your child's immune system isn't fully developed. This makes it more likely that your child will get bacterial and viral infections and more likely that these infections will be dangerous.

Remember that no one can watch a child's every move or make a home 100% safe all the time. Try to find a balance among supervising your child, taking safety precautions, and allowing your child to explore. Learn all you can about child growth and development. Doing so can help you learn how to respond to and make a positive impact on how your child behaves.

What can you do to help keep your child safe?

You can:

  • Supervise your child both inside and outside the house. For example, always use a car seat, and watch your child closely when he or she interacts with pets.
  • Practice healthy habits. Protect your child against illness and infection. For example, wash your hands often, keep toys clean, make sure your child is immunized, and go to all well-child visits.
  • Take safety measures around the home. For example, use sliding gates in front of stairs, and keep rubber bands and other small objects out of reach. And always place your baby to sleep on his or her back.

What kinds of equipment can be hazardous?

Car seats, cribs, strollers, playpens, and high chairs are all often used by infants and toddlers up to age 2. If any of this equipment is worn or broken, or if you use it incorrectly, it can be dangerous.

If you buy or are given used equipment, make sure it meets current safety standards and has not had any safety recalls. You can check recall information from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission online at www.cpsc.gov or by calling 1-800-638-2772.

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