Crawling is an important developmental stage that all growing babies have to go through. “It is through crawling that they learn how to walk. It’s a process,” says Mary Grace Padilla, M.D., DPPS, a pediatrician who holds clinic at Bethany Hospital in San Fernando City, La Union.
“It’s a step-by-step process. Usually, a baby starts to crawl between seven and 10 months. By the 10th month, he could already stand by himself, and at one year old, he could already be walking,” she estimates.
But apparently, crawling also puts your little one’s physical safety and health in jeopardy, in two ways. First, with it comes the possibility of accidents, according to Dr. Padilla. “The baby may get off-balance and knock his head on the floor, resulting to head bumps or bukol,” she explains. She also reminds that babies don’t only crawl on the floors, but also on the stairs, beds, and sofas which can be very dangerous.
There’s also the danger of choking when the baby starts to pick up things he sees on the floor and put it in his mouth. Choking, as you may be aware, can lead to death.
Second, crawling on floors can also bring about illnesses to your baby through their hands and feet. “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,” she says. And just because you don’t see any visible dirt does not mean that your baby is safe. Most illness-causing germs and bacteria can only be seen under a microscope.
According to the website of the University of Maryland Medical Center, transmission of intestinal parasites happens when a person comes in contact with “infected feces.” Some of the symptoms associated with it includes abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, gas or bloating, and loose tools with mucus and blood, among other things. However, these parasites can also inhabit the intestines for years without showing any symptoms at all, according to the website.
It's still soap and water
Dr. Padilla says that the usual disinfectants we use at home can do the job, but the most effective way to clean or disinfect is through the use of soap and water. Should parents use detergents in some cases, she says it has to be washed thoroughly.
She shares simple tips for parents and babysitters to observe:
- Clean the playpen, playground, or floor daily, or as often as possible.
- Wash the toys and things that the baby plays with daily, or as often as possible.
- Wash the baby’s hands, knees, and feet thoroughly after playing.
Safeguard your home
Needless to say, keeping your home child-friendly and safe is necessary. Dr. Padilla recommends that rubber mats be used on floors where the baby crawls. Rubberized flooring, she says, is especially good for babies around six months to one year old to prevent bumps and concussions. Carpets accumulate dust and dirt, and may not be safe for the baby who’s just learning to crawl, stand alone, and walk by himself.
Sharp or tiny objects which the baby might accidentally swallow must also be kept out of reach. Designating a specific room or part of the house where the baby can freely explore and play is also a good preventive measure, and also makes things easier to clean, she points out. Nonetheless, since babies normally crawl in almost all areas of the house, parents should be vigilant at all times. “These babies are very prone to accidents, so parents should keep a close watch at them. Don’t just leave them on their own,” she shares.
Mary Grace M. Padilla, M.D., DPPS
Mon-Sat, 10:30am-2pm at Natividad, Naguilian, La Union
Mon-Sat, 9am-10am/3pm-5pm at Bethany Hospital, San Fernando City, La Union
Mobile Number: 09189071186
Photo from flickr creative commons