Congratulations — and welcome to a whole new phase of babyhood! Now that your infant has mastered movement on all fours, she's able to explore her world, pique her curiosity, and engage in some skill-boosting activities (like scooting toward the ball instead of crying for you to bring it to her). But along with your baby’s newfound mobility comes the potential for mischief as she crawls toward trouble spots (the electrical outlet, the cat’s litter box). So it’s time to start thinking about crawling safety. These tips will help ensure that your little mover and shaker segues into crawling with as few bumps and bruises as possible.
Secure things for your little crawler. Haven't you made the house a safe place for a child? Now is the time to think seriously about baby proofing.
Here are some crawling safety basics:
Move electrical and window cables out of the way; connecting electrical outlets; lock cabinets containing dangerous objects (think poisons, medicines, sharp or fragile objects) and dispose of objects on the floor that are small enough to lie in your child's mouth and possibly turn it off (because your child swallows everything in his hands!).
Section off any danger zones (like the bathroom) by installing a safety gate at the entrance of the room or area or keeping the door closed.
If your house has multiple levels, you will need to install a gate at the top and bottom of the stairs - your child will not be able to crawl from below and jump back. (Although you may want to place the lower gate within walking distance of landing so your child has the opportunity to practice his climbing skills on the lower steps.)
Crawl as a couple. Stretch in pairs. A great way to help you understand your child’s worldview and find out what dangers he or she may have (even if you have a child safe for children) is to go down and crawl. You may notice the long-forgotten danger of pleading under the chair or discover that the edge of your coffee table is sharper than you thought! Crawling with a baby will give you the opportunity to teach him some safety tips while crawling, such as what is good for him to catch and what is not. It may take him a while to realize that he can't have food in a dog bowl, but he can play with Tupperware in the kitchen cabinet. But still do it - after enough repetition from your side, it will get an image.
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Same playing area (and floor). Make sure there are no splinters, nails or other sharp objects on the wooden floors so that your baby has a smooth surface where he can roam. If you don't have enough rugs in your home, you should consider buying a non-slip rug or floor covering (you can buy colorful rugs made especially for little ones at children's stores). The baby crawls to create soft surfaces and cut any bruises on his sensitive knees.
Dress for success. You may like the way your little fashionista looks in a gathered dress and skirt, but while she is learning to crawl, these women’s clothes may slow her down and frustrate her. However, style should not come into the background. Simply wear your baby in comfortable trousers (for better knee cushioning) or light leggings in hot weather. (If you really feel the need to protect small crawler legs when wearing shorts in the summer, you can buy knee pads.) Do you have a baby? Make sure his pants are not too baggy, otherwise they would accumulate on his knees and hinder his efforts.
Maintain an eagle eye. Regardless of the safety precautions you have taken around the house, you should always monitor your new sworn crawler to make sure it is not lost or injured. The only thing you can safely take your eyes off the baby is a baby in the crib or on the playground. And remember, when you're not at home, your little browser will be more interested in exploring the new environment, which means you'll need to be extremely vigilant when looking at them!