Your child may barely be able to roll over on her own now, but before you know it she’ll be cruising around your home on her hands and knees. And when that time comes, make sure you’ve done The Crawl Test, an essential part of baby proofing.
“Usually, a baby starts to crawl between seven and 10 months,” said Dr. Mary Grace Padilla, a pediatrician who holds clinic at Bethany Hospital in San Fernando City, La Union. The Crawl Test, as parenting editor for OffspringMichelle Woo calls it, will help you spot potential dangers and hazards your child may encounter on the floor. “Get down on your hands and knees and crawl around the living room. You will be surprised by what you see!” child safety expert Debra Holtzman, the author of The Safe Baby: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Home Safety and Healthy Living, told SheKnows.
Keep your little one safe and see your home from the eyes of a curious baby. Here’s what to watch out for and do when you’re down there: 1. Look for small objects Be on the lookout for coins, which are the most commonly swallowed objects by small kids, screws, bottle caps, safety pins and other sharp or tiny objects which the baby might accidentally swallow.
Children are most likely to choke on small objects when they're between 6 months and 3 years old, according to Parenting. This isn’t just because they like to put things in their mouth. It’s also because they don’t have molars to break whatever is in their mouth into smaller pieces, so large chunks can then get lodged in their throat or windpipe. Learn how to provide first aid to a choking baby here.
2. Clean as you go With adult shoes bringing in dirt and grime from outside into the house, there’s a possibility that crawling can get your child sick. Make sure your floors are clean before you let your child crawl around. “They can pick up germs, like E. coli, which can lead to diarrhea and vomiting, and other illnesses such as intestinal parasitism caused by bacteria,” said Dr. Padilla. So, get on your knees and start scrubbing. Buy a welcome mat for the front door as well where family members can wipe their feet before entering.
3. Secure electrical outlets, cords and cabinet doors Your little one will tinker with anything and everything she can get her little hands on while crawling. Cover electrical outlets and block cords behind furniture or get wire hiders from the hardware store. Make sure wires from phone chargers, earphones, drapes, and blinds are out of reach as well.
Get baby proofing latches for cabinets your child will be able to reach on the floor. Don’t keep cleaning supplies and other chemicals on low cabinets as well, like underneath the sink. Be mindful where you keep medicines, batteries, coins and other small objects as well.
4. See if there’s anything that can be knocked over Do you have floor lamps or vases around your home? Check for things around your home that can easily be tipped or knocked over. “One often-overlooked safety hazard is lamps,” said child-development expert Ingrid Kellaghan to SheKnows. “Because lamps utilize three safety hazards – electricity, heat, and glass – precautions must be taken to avoid accidents.” If you have table lamps, you can secure the cords with tape so they can’t be pulled down.
5. Put down a rubber mat. Dr. Padilla recommends putting down a rubber mat in areas of your home where your baby will crawl. Rubberized flooring is especially good for babies around six months to one year old to prevent bumps and concussions, she said. Avoid carpets which accumulate dust and dirt, and are more difficult to clean.
Once your baby starts to waddle around on two feet, there will be even more dangers including the stairs, houseplants which can be toxic when eaten, bookshelves that can topple over a baby attempting to climb it, knobs on the stove and other things in your home. The number one rule? Never leave your child unsupervised. “These babies are very prone to accidents, so parents should keep a close watch on them. Don’t just leave them on their own,” said Dr. Padilla.