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5 Years: Safety for Your Child


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Did you know that injuries are the greatest threat to the life and health of your child? Injuries are the leading cause of death of school-aged children. Yet you can prevent most major injuries!

At age 5, your child is learning to do many things that can cause serious injury, such as riding a bicycle or crossing a street. Although children learn fast, they still cannot judge what is safe. You must protect your child. You can prevent common major injuries by taking a few simple steps.

Bike Safety

Your child should always wear a helmet when riding a bike. Buy the helmet when you buy the bike! Make sure your child wears a helmet every time he or she rides. A helmet helps prevent head injuries and can save your child's life.

Never let your child ride a bike in the street. Your child is too young to ride in the street safely.

Be sure that the bike your child rides is the right size. Your child must be able to place the balls of both feet on the ground when sitting on the seat with hands on the handlebars. Your child's first bicycle should have coaster brakes. Five-year-olds are often unable to use hand brakes correctly.

Street Safety

Your child is in danger of being hit by a car if he or she darts out into the streetwhile playing. Take your child to the playground or park to play. Show yourchild the curb and teach him or her to always stop at the curb and nevercross the street without a grown-up.

Water Safety

Now is the time to teach your child to swim. Even if your child knows how to swim, never let him or her swim alone.

Do not let your child play around any water (lake, stream, pool, or ocean) unless an adult is watching. Never let your child swim in canals or any fast-moving water.

Teach your child to never dive into water unless an adult has checked the depth of the water. And when your child is on any boat, be sure your child is wearing a life jacket.

Fire Safety

Household fires are a threat to your child's life, as well as your own. Install smoke alarms on every level in your house, especially in furnace and sleeping areas, and test the alarms every month. It is best to use smoke alarms that use long-life batteries, but if you do not, change the batteries once a year.

Teach your child not to play with matches or lighters, and keep matches and lighters out of your child's reach. Also, do not smoke in your home. Many home fires are caused by a lit cigarette that has not been put out completely.

Car Safety

Car crashes are one of the greatest dangers to your child's life and health. The crushing forces to your child's brain and body in a crash or sudden stop, even at low speeds, can cause severe injuries or death. To prevent these injuries, correctly use a car safety seat or belt-positioning booster seat and seat belt every time your child is in the car. Your child should use a car safety seat with a harness until he reaches the seat's upper weight limit or his ears come to the top of the seat; then he should use a belt-positioning booster seat. Your child is not big enough to fit in the adult seat belt yet. The safest place for all children to ride is the backseat. Set a good example. Make sure you and other adults buckle up, too!

Firearm Hazards

Children in homes where guns are present are in more danger of being shot by themselves, their friends, or family members than of being injured by an intruder. Even if your child is taught never to touch a gun, if there is a gun in the house a child's curiosity can lead to severe injury or death. It is best to keep all guns out of the home. Handguns are especially dangerous. If you choose to keep a gun, keep it unloaded and in a locked place, with the ammunition locked separately. Ask if the homes where your child visits or is cared for have guns and how they are stored.

Would you be able to help your child in case of an injury? Put emergency numbers by or on your phone today. Learn first aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Be prepared...for your child's sake!


Dear Parent: Your child is old enough to start learning how to prevent injuries. The games below are designed to help your child think about safety. Read the messages with your child and talk about them together. Then take this safety sheet home and post it where everyone can see it.

It takes time to form a safety habit. Remind each other what it says. Make safety a big part of your lives.

Bike Safety

Always wear a

when you ride your

Get the Helmet Habit!

Street Safety

Never run into the street. The street is not safe for kids.

When you come to the curb...

Directions: Show John the curb.

Color the curb. Then color the picture

The information in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on the individual facts and circumstances.

© 2005 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 05/2016. All rights reserved.

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