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Ages & Stages

Safety for Your Child: 5 Years

​​​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-age 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 street while playing. Take your child to the playground or park to play. Show your child the curb and teach him or her to always stop at the curb and never cross 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 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 in your house, and test the batteries every month to make sure they work. 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. Most fires are caused by a lit cigarette that has not been put out completely.

Car Safety

Car crashes are the greatest danger to your child's life and health. The crushing forces to your child's brain and body in a collision or sudden stop, even at low speeds, can cause injuries or death. To prevent these injuries, correctly USE a car safety seat or booster seat and seat belt EVERY TIME your child is in the car. Your child should use a car safety seat or a booster seat until the lap belt can be worn low and flat on the hips and the shoulder belt can be worn across the shoulder rather than the face or neck (usually at about 80 pounds and 4 feet 9 inches tall). The safest place for all children to ride is the back seat. 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. Handguns are especially dangerous. It is best to keep all guns out of the home. If you choose to keep a gun, it should be kept unloaded and in a locked place separate from the ammunition. 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. Be prepared...for your child's sake!

Last Updated
TIPP: The Injury Prevention Program (Copyright © 1994 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 9/2005)
The information contained on this Web site 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 individual facts and circumstances.
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