Bullets fired into a Cairns home during a targeted attack narrowly missed a woman who was caring for a toddler at the house, police say.

A woman narrowly escaped death when three bullets were fired into a north Queensland home during a targeted attack, police say.

Police said three shots were fired from a high-powered gun into a Cairns house while the 19-year-old woman, a man and his three-year-old girl were inside about 4am (AEST) on Saturday.

Far north district crime co-ordinator acting Detective Inspector Kevin Goan said the attack was targeted and death was a likely outcome of the incident.

“I think as time passes she’s becoming aware just how lucky she was to still be with us today,” he told media in Cairns on Monday.

“This is definitely out of the ordinary for us in the far north.”

The shots penetrated the exterior wall of the house.

Det Insp Goan says one of the shots also passed through two interior walls, before it became lodged in a third wall 45 centimetres from the woman.

“It’s difficult to say what kind of weapon [was used] that could cause the same degree of damage,” he said.

The woman was at the house looking after the infant and the 31-year-old man, who is known to police, had just returned home when the shots were fired.

Det Insp Goan said the pair had been reluctant to speak to police.

He said it was likely more than one person was involved in the shooting. No arrests have been made.

He said criminal motorcycle gangs weren’t involved.

A dark-coloured sedan was seen near the house, which is still cordoned off by police, when the shots were fired.

The toddler is being cared for by her maternal grandmother while an investigation by the police child protection unit is under way.