Children & Adolescents Clinic

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Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
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Well Child Care at 5 Years


Your child may enjoy helping to choose and prepare the family meals with supervision. This will help teach him good food habits. Mealtime should be a pleasant time for the family. Avoid junk foods. Children watch what their parents eat, so set a good example.


Children at this age usually are imaginative, get along well with friends their own age, and have lots of energy. Be sure to praise children lavishly when they share things with each another.

Wetting the bed at night is still common at this age. If your child still wets the bed regularly, you may want to ask about ways to help your child.

Five-year-olds usually are able to dress and undress themselves, understand rules in a game, and brush their own teeth. For behaviors that you would like to encourage in your child, try to "catch your child being good." That is, tell your child how proud you are when he does things that help you or the family.

Punishment for dangerous or hurtful behaviors is necessary. Sending a child to a quiet, boring corner without anything to do for 5 minutes is one way of handling these situations.

For more information see: Normal Development: 5 Years

Safety Tips

Accidents are the number-one cause of deaths in children.

Prevent Fires and Burns

  • Practice a fire escape plan.
  • Check your smoke detector battery.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in or near the kitchen.
  • Teach your child to never play with matches or lighters.
  • Teach your child emergency phone numbers and to leave the house if fire breaks out.
  • Turn your water heater down to 120ƒF (50ƒC) .

Car Safety

  • Always wear seat belts.
  • Don't buy motorized vehicles for your child.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety

  • Supervise street crossing. Your child may start to look in both directions but don't depend on her ability to cross a street alone yet.
  • Buy and use a bicycle helmet.
  • Do not allow your child to ride a bicycle near traffic.
  • Don't buy a bicycle that is too big for your child.

Prevent Drowning

  • Continuously watch your child around any water.

Avoid Falls

  • Never allow your child to climb on chairs, ladders, or cabinets.
  • Do not allow your child to play on stairways.
  • Make sure windows are closed or have screens that cannot be pushed out.

Safety Around Strangers

  • Safety outside the home is very important to discuss with your child.
  • Teach your child her address and phone number and how to contact you at work.
  • Teach your child never to go anywhere with a stranger.


  • Teach your child to take medicines only with supervision.
  • Teach your child to never eat unknown pills or substances.
  • Put the poison center number on all phones. The poison control number is ____________________.
  • Ask your doctor about syrup of Ipecac. Use it only if you are told to do so.

Dental Care

  • Brushing teeth regularly after meals is important. Think up a game and make brushing fun.
  • It is also a good idea to make an appointment for your child to see the dentist.


Your child may receive one or more shots. After a shot your child may run a fever and become irritable for about 1 day. Your child may also have some soreness, redness, and swelling in the area where a shot was given. For fever, give your child a dose of acetaminophen (240 mg = three 80-mg chewable tablets). For swelling or soreness put a wet, warm washcloth on the area of the shot as often and as long as needed for comfort.

Call your child's physician immediately if:

  • Your child has a fever over 105ƒF (40.5ƒC).
  • Your child has a severe allergic reaction beginning within 2 hours after the shot (for example, hives, wheezing, noisy breathing, swelling of the mouth or throat).
  • Your child has any other unusual reaction.

Next Visit

A once-a-year check-up is recommended.

Written by Robert Brayden, M.D.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems