- Anchoring Heavy Furniture
- Securing Hanging Cords and Fabrics
- Installing Safety Gates
- Applying Corner and Edge Guards
- Using Window Guards and Locks
- Securing Cabinets and Toilets
- Designating a Safe Play Zone
- Careful Supervision
- Frequently Asked Questions about Babyproofing
Once your little one starts crawling, typically between 6-10 months, your world opens up to new and exciting milestones! However, increased mobility also means it's time to babyproof your home. Your crawling cutie will be eager to explore, which means getting into everything within reach. Follow these tips to create a safe environment for your child during this curious stage!
Anchoring Heavy Furniture
Start by securing any heavy furniture and electronics that could potentially tip over onto your moving baby. Dressers, bookcases, TV stands, shelves, and armoires should be firmly anchored to studs in the wall using anti-tip kits. Avoid placing chairs or other climbable items near windows where little ones could fall. Also secure TVs with straps or wall mounts to prevent them from falling over if pulled on.
Read more here: How to Anchor Furniture to a Wall | Wirecutter
Securing Hanging Cords and Fabrics
- Make sure all blind and curtain cords are firmly wrapped up and out of reach.
- Switch to clip-on tie backs rather than dangling cords for drapes.
- Keep tablecloths and placemats off of surfaces that your child could grab.
- Tuck away or tightly bundle any electrical cords from lamps, electronics, etc.
- Loose dangling cords pose a strangulation risk for curious babies.
Installing Safety Gates
- Install sturdy safety gates at the very top and bottom of stairs to prevent dangerous tumbles.
- Pressure mounted gates are convenient, but make sure they are secured tightly.
- Hardware mounted gates that screw into the wall provide the strongest protection.
- Use gates to block crawl spaces as well as entryways to unsafe rooms.
Applying Corner and Edge Guards
Apply corner guards and edge bumpers to sharp corners and edges on furniture, fireplaces, exposed piping, entertainment consoles, etc. Babies can bruise or cut themselves on hard corners and metal or wood edges when crawling or cruising along furniture. Foam cushions prevent injuries.
Read more here: How To Install A Corner Guard
Using Window Guards and Locks
- Protect your child from falling out of open windows by installing window guards and locks.
- Falls are more common from second story or higher windows.
- Also replace any loose or broken window blinds/shades.
- Make sure there are no cords dangling within reach.
Securing Cabinets and Toilets
- Use latches, locks or knob covers to make kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers inaccessible.
- Install toilet locks and faucet covers.
- Store all medications, vitamins, cleaning products, breakables, knives and sharp tools locked away or up high.
- Use outlet covers on all unused electrical outlets.
Designating a Safe Play Zone
- Create a baby friendly play space using washable padded floor mats or blankets. Make sure all small objects that could be choking hazards are removed, including buttons, coins, small toys, etc.
- Provide a variety of safe teething toys.
- Choose engaging baby gyms, activity centers and toys with no detachable parts under 1.25 inches.
- Secure bookcases and media consoles to the wall so they don't tip over if used for pulling up or climbing.
Even the most thoroughly babyproofed home still requires vigilant adult supervision at all times. Never leave your baby unattended on changing tables, beds, sofas or other elevated surfaces. Use mirrors and baby monitors to keep an eye on your crawler if moving between rooms. Check the floor before use for dropped pills or other choking hazards. Stay engaged and redirect your baby from unsafe behaviors. Proper babyproofing paired with watchful parenting prevents injuries.
In summary, take proactive steps to protect your crawler such as anchoring furniture, installing safety gates, securing cords and fabrics, locking up chemicals and medication, covering sharp edges, and designating padded play zones. Combined with vigilant supervision, these babyproofing tactics allow your little one to safely explore their expanding world!
Frequently Asked Questions about Babyproofing
1. When should I start to babyproof my house?
You can start your baby proofing project when your baby is 4 months old, and you can build up the work day by day. The key is to start babyproofing early and adapt your home before a safety issue arises. It's hard to predict exactly when your little one will reach mobility milestones. Stay one step ahead by envisioning what areas they could potentially access. Start with room they spend the most time in. Remain actively engaged and directly supervise your baby whenever they are exploring. Babyproofing paired with watchful parenting helps prevent tragic accidents.
- Around 4 months - Once your baby starts rolling over, it's time to safety-proof their floor space. Remove loose objects and secure electrical cords so they can't reach them. Use soft padding in their play area.
- Around 6 months - When your baby begins sitting up, it's important to lock away chemicals, medications, and cleaning supplies. Install cabinet latches and put gates at the tops and bottoms of stairs.
- Around 7-9 months - As your baby becomes mobile via crawling, you'll need to secure unstable furniture to the walls using anchors and straps. Move breakable objects up high and use outlet covers.
- Around 10-12 months - When walking, your toddler will need gates to keep them away from dangerous areas. Use door knob covers and install window guards above the first floor. Cover sharp edges on fireplaces, tables etc.
- Ongoing adjustments - Continuously scan your home for potential hazards as your child gains new skills. For example, locks on toilet seats, faucet covers and securing TVs/bookcases when they start pulling up to stand.
2. What surface is the safest for baby to crawl on?
Carpet and mats are the safe choices for babies to crawl on. Carpeting provides a soft, cushioned surface that is safest for a crawling baby. Make sure it is secured firmly to the floor and there are no loose threads. Vacuum frequently to remove dirt and debris. Cushioned rubber mats designed for babies provide a non-slip grip and impact protection. They are easy to clean and can be used to cover hard floors. Meanwhile, fold blankets several layers thick and secure the edges with tape for a makeshift crawl space. Remember to use quilted blankets or cotton flannel to prevent slipping. Some parenents also asked about the hardwood floor. Hardwood or laminate flooring is fine with supervision.
Please note: avoid using pillows, towels, vinyl, or high pile rugs and carpets. Steer clear of stone, tile, concrete, or brick floors as they are too hard. Always supervise baby on any surface and remove choking hazards.
3. What is the difference between crawling and creeping babies?
Crawling and creeping represent important early mobility milestones for infants that enable them to explore their surroundings independently. The main difference is that crawling uses coordinated leg and arm movements while creeping utilizes only the arms to maneuver along the floor. Crawling is a more integral part of the developmental sequence toward walking. More specifically, the key differences between these two skills are:
- Crawling uses coordinated movements of both arms and legs to propel forward on hands and knees, with the baby's stomach/torso touching the ground.
- Alternating arm and leg actions allow the baby to crawl forward, sometimes referred to as the "cross-crawl" pattern. One hand/knee moves forward followed by the opposite leg/hand.
- Crawling provides babies with an upwards and forward facing view, allowing them to see obstacles and objects ahead. This facilitates more intentional reaching and grasping.
- Traditional hands-and-knees crawling often emerges around 6-10 months of age, but timing varies by each baby's rate of physical development.
- Crawling is considered a major developmental milestone on the pathway to eventual walking.
- Creeping involves using just the arms/upper body to pull the torso forward along the floor. The hips are elevated up rather than resting on the knees.
- The legs often drag motionless behind the body rather than participating actively in forward propulsion.
- Creeping allows an upwards facing view for babies but not as much visibility ahead.
- Creeping tends to occur earlier than traditional crawling, often between 3-6 months old. It is sometimes a transitional stage before crawling.
- Creeping is less common and not considered a major milestone like crawling. More babies will progress from creeping to crawling rather than creeping to walking.