Safety and Child Development

Child development occurs at different rates, but the information below is a guide to development stages:

Age Development Advice
0-6 months Wriggle and kick, grasp, suck, roll over. Do not leave on a raised surface.
6mths-1 yr Stand, sit, crawl, put things in mouth. Keep small objects and dangerous substances out of reach
1-2 years Move about, reach things high up, and find hidden objects, walk, and climb. Never leave alone, place hot drinks out of reach, use a fireguard and stairgates
2-3 years Be adventurous, climb higher, pull and twist things, watch and copy. Be a good role model and be watchful. Place matches and lighters out of sight and reach.
3-4 years Use grown-up things, be helpful, understand instructions, be adventurous, explore, walk downstairs alone. Continue to be a good role model, keep being watchful but start safety training.
4-5 years Play exciting games, can be independent, ride a bike, enjoy stories They can actually plan to do things and carry it out. Rules are very important to them, as long as everybody keeps to the same ones. They enjoy learning. Continue safety training.
5-8 years Will be subject to peer pressure and will still forget things. Still need supervision, guidance and support.

Why do children have accidents?

Because children are often absorbed in their own immediate interests they can be oblivious to their surroundings. They only have a limited perception of the environment because of their lack of experience or development. They are not aware of the consequences of the many new situations that they encounter daily.

Small stature

This may prevent a child from seeing above an obstruction or being seen by an adult.


Curiosity and a spirit of adventure may lead a child into danger.

Bravado and horseplay

Boys are particularly prone to showing off and over reaching their abilities, especially among friends. Many accidents are caused by horseplay involving pushing, shoving and wrestling.


Tensions at home and emotional upsets caused by temper, jealousy and over excitement may cause a child to run blindly into danger. Such action may even be deliberate to seek attention.


A child’s interpretation of a situation may be inaccurate and adults looking after small children should be aware not to expect too much of them.

Inadequate supervision

Children need constant supervision. Medicines, pills and toxic substances should be locked away and fires and stairs should be guarded.