Just when it seems like you’ve got the feeding routine under control, and life with your baby is starting to fall into a rhythm, with baby starting to sleep through the night; just when you think you’ve got this parenting thing figured out, your baby puts a new spin on things. She becomes mobile.
The first signs are usually a bit of butt scooting or other pre-crawling movements, but it doesn’t take long until baby figures out how to make those arms and legs move, and then he’s off to the races. Babies begin crawling, in most cases, anywhere between five months and a year of age. Some babies crawl for several months before learning to stand and walk, while others skip crawling altogether or have very short periods between learning to crawl and learning to walk.
When your baby, who has had no choice but to stay where you put her for her entire existence, suddenly discovers that she can propel herself, there are several precautions you should take to make sure that her environment remains safe. Babies are naturally curious, and if a parent isn’t careful, her ever increasing ability to get around could put her in danger of hurting herself.
The first thing you’ll want to do is install baby gates by all stairways to make sure that baby won’t fall down the stairs. Install the gates at whichever end of the stairs baby plays. If baby is upstairs, place the gate at the top, if baby is downstairs, place the gate at the bottom to prevent baby from climbing the stairs. As cute as babies climbing the stairs can be, unless you are right behind her to make sure she doesn’t fall back down, she could hurt herself.
You may also want to use baby gates to cordon off any area that you want to keep baby out of. Or, conversely, you may want to use gates to keep baby in a particular room. Wherever baby is allowed to play and crawl, make sure the floor area is free of small toys, coins, sharp objects, and anything else you wouldn’t want to see baby put in her mouth. Play pens are another good way to keep baby contained, but you’ll want to make sure to give her plenty of time outside of the pen so that she can develop her newfound skills.
Another thing you’ll want to do immediately (if you haven’t already) is to install electrical plug covers. Plastic outlet covers can be obtained at most department stores, and should be used with all outlets that are not currently in use, especially those that are near the floor. Outlets stand out, and are conveniently eye level for crawling babies. Using safety plugs will ensure that your baby is not able to shock herself.
Before you relax, remember, baby will be standing (and walking) soon, so begin preparing for the safety issues that will arise when baby can not only move, buy actually reach things that are higher up. It’ll happen sooner than you think.