Although not considered as important a milestone as walking, since some babies never crawl before they walk, crawling is important in many ways. A major way crawling is important, is the fact that a crawling baby needs constant supervision! They can, and will, get into anything that they have access to. Not only does your baby need constant supervision, but where they crawl needs some careful consideration. While crawling develops your baby's muscle strength and motor control, it's important to consider what kind of environment they are crawling around in.
While babies have mobility on the floor, they have a unique view of the world that mom and dad might not realize. The floor becomes a source for learning and development, but it also becomes a potential danger zone. These are some tips on how to make sure your baby has the capability to learn and develop, while doing it in a safe and secure environment.
Get Down on Your Baby's Level
Even though we were small once, we don't remember what the world looks like at eight inches off the floor. If you want to be able to see things from the same perspective your baby does, get down on the floor and have a look around. From your baby's perspective on the floor, you should be able to identify any potential dangers. Keep an eye out for exposed electrical outlets, electrical cords, and other potentially hazardous objects. Now that you have identified any hazards, it is time to baby proof them. Outlets should be equipped with child guards, and cords should be kept out of reach or secured to the floor.
This will keep your baby from getting shocked from outlets, tangled up in cords, or have heavy objects pulled from a table onto their little heads. Believe it or not, what is on the floor is not a parent's only concern. Once babies learn to crawl, they also learn to pull themselves up. Low tables, cabinets, and other surfaces are now accessible to your baby. Consider the potential problems of things on low surfaces. Crawling babies eventually get around the house very quickly, so you also might want to consider gating off a specific area that you want your baby to crawl in.
Keep Your Floor Clean
The extent of safety is not completely solved by fixing hazardous objects. The cleanliness of the floor also becomes more important when your baby learns to crawl. While a walking baby can be protected with socks and shoes, a crawling baby's skin, mouth, and nose are much closer to possible toxins and dirt that can cause sickness.
While work and childcare will keep a parent's life hectic, it is important to always keep the floor clear of things that can potentially harm your baby. Babies learn with their mouths as well as their hands, so don't rule out anything that can be chewed or swallowed. While down on their level, look under couches, chairs, and other furniture for possible choking hazards. Just because you can't see it standing up, it doesn't mean your baby won't find it on the floor.
Make sure you keep your carpets vacuumed, and your floors swept. If you have pets that shed, you might need to vacuum more often. If given the opportunity, babies will put a dust bunny in their mouth. Mopping your floor is also important. Many floor cleaners contain toxins that can be harmful to your crawling baby. Warning labels on cleaners usually refer to harmful effects from ingestion, not from inhalation or particle absorption through the skin. Make sure to mop any un-carpeted surfaces with a safe, non-toxic cleaner.
While you want your baby to learn and develop, you want them to do it in a safe environment. Now that you have some tips on maintaining a safe place for your baby to crawl, set them on the floor and see how fast they can go!