Coordinator, Family Safety Programs
Minnesota Safety Council
Because your child’s walking, running and climbing abilities are more advanced now, this stage can be a very dangerous time in your child’s life. Your toddler can fall off furniture and play equipment, down stairs, out of windows and off anything that can be climbed on. Often, injuries happen because toddlers don’t understand danger and parents are not always aware of what their children can do. It is a parent’s responsibility to protect toddlers from injury by making sure the area around children is safe and that toddlers are always actively supervised.
To prevent serious falls, lock the doors to any dangerous areas. If your home has stairs, be sure to secure safety gates at the top and bottom of every staircase. For the top of stairs, gates that screw to the wall are more secure than pressure gates. Use safety gates that meet current safety standards to avoid entrapment and other hazards. Hold your child’s hand when climbing up and down stairs and make sure stairs are clear of toys and other objects.
Windows and playground equipment are major risk factors for toddlers and older children. Never leave your toddler alone near open windows. Window screens are not strong enough to prevent a child from falling from a window. Install window guards on upper windows and buy window guards that have a quick release mechanism inside the window. This will let you open the window fast in case you need to escape a fire. Keep the space in front of windows free of furniture. A chair next to a kitchen counter, table, or window allows your toddler to climb to dangerously high places.
At the playground, be sure the surface under play equipment is soft enough to absorb a fall, such as woodchips or shredded rubber. Supervise children closely when they are playing on slides, swings, and seesaws. Keep young children from playing on equipment designed for older children. Children under the age of six should not climb higher than four feet.
When riding a tricycle or ride-on toy, make it is the correct size for your child and that your toddler wears a bicycle helmet. If your toddler is riding on a bicycle with an adult, your child should be in a rear-mounted seat and wearing a helmet.
This is an exciting time as your toddler develops new skills. By taking important safety precautions now you can help protect your toddler from potentially dangerous falls.