3-4 years: “I’m invincible"

You now have a lively explorer on your hands, one who’s active and energetic and checking out anything and everything. It can be a challenging time, but it’s also great fun.

Your child is improving their coordination and developing their muscles through running, jumping and throwing, and their finer skills through drawing and playing with small toys. It’s about now that you’ll find them trying to use scissors and having an interest in lighters and matches.

The mix of growing skills, curiosity, copying and of course assertiveness, means you have to watch them closely to keep them safe, both inside and outside the home.

These pages at www.skip.org.nz give good information on this second stage of development: three years and four years

What you need to know about your pre-schooler

  • They are more likely to have falls outside the home as they start to play more on playground equipment and at their friends’ houses.

  • They typically burn themselves from trying to use appliances they are too young to manage.

  • They will touch, taste and smell just about anything, so there’s a chance of choking and suffocation.

  • Because they’re fast and love playing anywhere, you need to be super watchful around cars – especially in the driveway.

Of course, you want to let your tamariki be free to explore and have fun and, with a bit of information and planning to keep them safe, you can do just that.

Top tips

  • Keep small objects such as batteries, buttons, beads and coins out of reach and sight to stop exploring hands getting hold of them.

  • Cut food into small pieces. It’s a lot easier to eat and reduces choking.

  • Keep small electronics or devices that use button batteries out of reach.

  • Set your hot water tap to a safe 55 degrees centigrade.

  • Look around your car for children before reversing and driving off, and always check your blind spots.

  • Separate play areas from driveways using a fence.

  • Accidents around water can happen in a split second, so keep your eyes on your tamariki in, on and around water. And always empty buckets and paddling pools after use.

  • Children under six years can run into trouble on a trampoline so it’s best to find another activity to keep them entertained.


Read about all the other safety topics for your child below