You can’t wait to see them take their first step, yet they have to crawl before they walk, which means you need to be concerned now. Before you grow worried about their ability to run into furniture, out of the door, or up and down the stairs, you need to take safety precautions to ensure they remain safe when crawling.
Safety is preventative. That means you need to start thinking about your baby crawling before they begin doing it. Sure, you’ll have more than enough to worry about upon taking a newborn home from the hospital. But before you know it, they’ll be crawling around and inviting more concern into your life.
To truly understand what will tempt your baby, you have to grow down and get on their level – literally. Get down on all fours to get a baby’s perspective of your home. What seems tempting? Make sure you secure all electric plugs, modify furniture so it’s not top heavy, and remove any furniture or elements that can crush fingers, etc.
Instate the Toilet Roll Test
Babies love to place items in their mouths. Therefore, you need to assess what elements need to be removed from sight or entirely from the room. Use a toilet paper roll. If an item can fit through the roll’s hole than it can fit in a baby’s mouth and needs to be extricated. You still need to monitor the baby at all times to reduce the risk of choking, yet being proactive will lessen the chance of an accident.
Children are creative and curious, which is a dangerous combination when it comes to hazardous substances resting within or behind drawers and cabinets. Place child-safe latches on all drawers and cabinets so children cannot open drawers and get their hands dangerous objects such as silverware or household cleaners.
You have the best intentions of keeping a close eye on each move your baby makes but it’s more practical to limit the area of access. For instance, use gates to block off access to other rooms, stairs, the outdoors, etc. It will make your job a lot easier if you limit baby’s space to explore. You can fill the space with as many stimulating toys and objects you like without worrying about where they crawl off to.
Dressing for Crawling
Some moms and dads get obsessed with baby fashion but the truth of the matter is that most outfits will attract vomit, rips, and discoloration. Therefore, when baby is crawling in the house, dress them in appropriate clothing that has added cushion at the knees, elbows, and forearms. Also, don’t invest a lot of money in clothes that baby will play in; the outfit is only an accident away from being ruined. Also, be mindful of the softness of the floor; hardwoods floors will attract more bumps and bruises. Lay down a blanket or area rug where your baby is crawling. Alternatively, you could use washable and detachable car seat covers from ShearComfort.com.
Communicate with Them
Babies may not be able to give a powerpoint presentation, yet they can understand the concept of “no” and be taught to stay away from certain areas of the house or engage in certain activities. Babies will be limited by latches and barriers, but they also learn by internalizing the reactions and prompts of their caregivers. Teach your baby that it’s not okay to touch wires connected to the television, go near glass tables, etc, by telling them “no,” slapping their hands away, and being consistent with warnings.
Prepare for Standing/Walking
As mentioned, you needed to start preparing for a crawling baby yesterday. Similarly, it won’t be very long until your baby will be able to stand and start to walk. Therefore, make decisions that incorporate the actions of walking and standing. For example, don’t purchase a television that rests on a stand if you can hang it on the wall – where it will be completely out of standing reach. Similarly, don’t move items higher up on a shelf; for one, it makes the piece of furniture more top heavy, and secondly, it’s only a matter of time before baby grows and will be able to reach.
Nicole Burke is a Mom of two kids who is taking a career break to raise them. When not in, what she calls, Mommy Mode, Nicola enjoys sharing her thoughts and tips on parenting with like minded parents online.