Keeping your tamariki healthy and safe

Find out how to keep your tamariki healthy and safe from 1 to 5 years of age.

Keep your tamariki healthy

Keep your child healthy by:

  • giving them healthy food and drinks
  • looking after their teeth
  • immunising them
  • smokefree.


Your tamariki needs 3 small meals a day and small, healthy snacks in between. Water and full-fat cow’s milk are the best drinks for your tamariki.

Feeding tamariki: 1 year and over (internal link)

Dental care

Keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy by brushing their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Lift your child’s upper lip every month to check for signs of tooth decay (holes). Make sure they are enrolled with the Community Oral Health Service.

Caring for your child's first teeth (internal link)


Immunisation helps to protect your child from serious diseases. You tamariki can get a free diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio booster vaccine, meningococcal B and flu vaccines.

Immunisations for preschoolers (internal link)

Be smokefree

It is never too late to quit for your pēpi. Have a smokefree home and car.

Keeping healthy (internal link)

Childhood sickness

Babies and young children get sick often — it is a normal part of childhood. They will usually get better after a few days. There are danger signs to look out for.

Sickness — danger signs in tamariki (internal link)

Keep your tamariki safe

Your tamariki may start to walk at 9 to 15 months of age. Important things to think about to keep your tamariki safe are:

  • water
  • electricity
  • poisons
  • sun
  • choking
  • fire safety
  • road safety.
Never shake, hit, or smack your child. If you feel you might lose control, put them in a safe place, and walk away for a short time.

Safe places

Give them safe places to play, crawl, walk, run, jump and climb. Stay close by so that you can help them when they need you. Inside, take care to avoid falls by blocking off stairs and unsafe places and keeping cot, bed and chairs and stools away from open windows.

If your tamariki is playing outside, make sure that the area where they are is fenced so that they cannot get on the driveway, on the road, or in water. Always watch your tamariki in or near water. Always hold their hand to cross the road. 

If your tamariki rides a bike or scooter, make sure they wear:

  • a helmet to protect their head 
  • shoes to protect their feet.

Car seats

Use a car seat in all cars, for all trips. Car seats should remain rear facing until your child is 2 years old.

Car seats — Plunket (external link)

Move them to a booster seat only when they are too tall, or too heavy, for their car seat. 

Booster seats — Plunket (external link)


Young tamariki can choke easily, so make sure they sit down to eat, and stay with them while they eat. Do not give your child hard foods such as nuts and small, hard lollies.

Preventing choking in young tamariki (internal link)

Safe storage

Store medicines, lighters, matches and candles out of your child’s reach. Make sure they cannot reach anything that might burn them, such as hot pans and heaters. Use fire guards around wood burners, open fires and heaters.