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3 Years of Age

Safety:

  • Falls are the most common type of injury.
  • Surfaces under play equipment should be soft enough to absorb a fall (safety mats, wood chips, sand) and be maintained to a depth of 9 inches.
  • Lock all doors to any dangerous areas. Use gates on stairways and window guards.
  • 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. Ask if the homes where your child visits have guns and how they are stored.
  • Make sure your water heater temperature is set to a maximum of 120° F.
  • Keep the Poison Control Number in your phone or readily available: 1-800-222-1222
  • Keep chemicals, medicines, and other poisons out of reach.
  • Refer to this handout for car seat information.
  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, reapplying every 2 hours, and avoid peak sun intensity of 10 am to 3 pm.
  • AAP recommends insect repellents should be less than 30% DEET and used for infants 2 months old and older. Wash off skin with soap and water when done. Wash clothes before wearing again. Do not use combination DEET and sunscreen products. Apply permethrin for ticks to clothes, not to skin.

Development:

  • Carries on a conversation with 2-3 word sentences.
  • Speech is understandable 75% of the time.
  • Can work toys with buttons, levers and moving parts.
  • Copies a circle with pencil or crayon.
  • Says first name, age and gender.
  • Pedals a tricycle.
  • Names a friend, shows affection for friends, takes turns in games.
  • Separates easily from mom and dad.

Diet:

  • Continue to make family mealtimes a priority.
  • Accept strong preferences about foods and avoid making mealtimes a battle.
  • Encourage but don’t force trying new foods. Try to suggest an “adventure bite.”
  • Offer nutritious foods at every meal.
  • No television during mealtimes.
  • Planning midday snacks will help prevent overeating at meal time. Steer clear of overly processed foods. Try protein and fat based foods instead. Whole milk yogurt, hard boiled egg with fruit, small bite-sized raw veggies with hummus are some examples.

Other Helpful Notes:

  • Look for signs of toilet training readiness, usually seen at 2 to 3 years of age. They need to be able to pull clothing off, understand if they are wet, and need to inform you that they need to use the potty. Do not pressure your toddler to potty train.
  • It is not uncommon during potty training for a toddler to become constipated. Encourage fluid intake, and increase fiber intake. Call to discuss if condition is causing discomfort.

Watch Out For:

  • Notify your provider if your child falls often or has trouble with stairs, has very unclear speech, doesn’t speak in sentences, doesn’t want to play with other children or toys, or loses skills they once had.