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One of the most important developments in the life of a baby is the period when the baby begins crawling.
But crawling babies are also subject to more dangers.
Keeping your crawling baby safe primarily means keeping potentially dangerous objects out of your baby’s grasp.
For instance, plastic bags, sharp objects, small objects (including some toys), and ropes and cords should be removed from any area the baby is crawling.
Use extra care not to trip on your crawling baby and prevent your baby from tumbling down stairs by setting up safety gates in front of all stairways.
Ensuring Baby Doesn’t Take a Tumble
Monitor your crawling baby closely when changing them on an elevated surface.
If you’re changing your crawling baby on a countertop or table, they might roll or crawl over the edge if you’re not around to monitor them.
Therefore, you must always be watchful and stay by your crawling baby when they are on an elevated surface.
It’s best to change your baby on the floor on a changing mat or towel.
This will prevent your crawling baby from being hurt in a fall.
Even a relatively low elevation like a sofa or chair could be high enough for a crawling baby to really hurt themselves if they fall.
Some changing pads have straps to help hold the baby in, but you should never leave your baby unattended even if you use these.
Use a safety harness when strapping your crawling baby in.
If you put your baby in a baby carriage or high chair, ensure that your crawling baby won’t crawl out by strapping your baby in with a five-point harness.
A five-point harness is a piece of safety equipment that ties around the crawling baby’s waist, crotch, and shoulders to keep them from crawling out of the place they’re meant to remain.
If your crawling baby is not safely strapped in, they could crawl out and get hurt in the fall.
Install safety gates in front of stairways.
Safety gates are removable barriers that prevent the passage of crawling babies from leaving a certain area.
While adults can easily step over safety gates, for crawling babies, safety gates are an impenetrable obstacle.
Do not use older accordion-style gates.
They might trap your crawling baby if they put their head through them.
Cover the space between bannisters if necessary.
If your baby is crawling about on an upper story and your home has an area of bannisters along a walkway, they might fall through the bannisters if they are spaced further than 2.5 inches (6.5 cm) apart.
In this case, cover the bannisters with boards or a safety net.
Position low furniture away from windows.
Crawling babies are very creative.
If your low furniture is close to windows, your crawling baby might clamber onto a chair or sofa and crawl right out of an open window.
Your baby might also open a closed window and crawl out.
Fit your windows with locks or safety catches that make it impossible to open the window more than 2.5 inches (6.5 cm).
Ensure that you and the other adults in the house know where the keys for the safety catches or locks are to get through the window in case of fire (or in case you just want to let in a nice breeze).
Remove all climbable objects from your crawling baby’s bed.
If your crawling baby has any toys or bumpers in their cot, they might climb or crawl on them to escape.
In so doing, your crawling baby might take a nasty fall and get hurt.
To prevent this from happening, remove these toys and bumpers from the crawling baby’s bed.
Preventing Your Crawling Baby From Being Strangled or Choked
Ensure your crawling baby’s crib is safe.
Do not use a baby crib that has slats spaced more than 2-3/8 inches (6 cm) apart.
Otherwise, the crawling baby might get stuck between them and be strangled.
Before placing your crawling baby in the crib, remove its bib.
The cords might get caught on something and strangle your crawling baby.
Finally, don’t hang diaper bags or purses on cribs, as the cords used to hang such objects might be used by the crawling baby to strangle itself.
Don’t place pillows or duvets in your crawling baby’s crib.
They might suffocate on them.
Make sure the crib isn’t close to hanging cords from window blinds or curtains.
Keep small objects away from your crawling baby.
Do not store jars of coins or stacks of buttons on or near the ground where your crawling baby might get into them.
Your baby might get into these small objects and put them in their mouth.
This could cause your baby to choke.
Instead, place these small objects in sealed containers at an elevation where they are inaccessible to your baby.
For example, you might place them in a locked cabinet or a cabinet that is several meters from the ground.
Other objects you should prevent your crawling baby from playing with include sewing needles, broken glass, nuts and bolts, pins and tacks, batteries, and small toy parts.
Avoid toys that have thin or spindly bits on them that could break off and pose a choking hazard for your crawling baby.
Keep plastic bags away from your crawling baby.
If you have plastic bags in your home, do not leave them lying about or give them to your baby to play with.
If your crawling baby places these bags over their head, they might suffocate.
Instead, place plastic bags in a locked cupboard that only you can access, or in an elevated cabinet that your baby cannot access.
Never tie a dummy to your baby’s clothes.
A dummy is a small rubber bit that fits in the mouth of crawling baby to help keep them quiet and enable them the opportunity to suckle.
But tying the dummy to your crawling baby’s clothing or around their neck could lead to strangulation.
For instance, if your crawling baby’s dummy gets caught on a piece of furniture while they are crawling about, they might end up getting strangled, which could produce brain damage or death.
A dummy is sometimes also referred to as a pacifier, nuk, or binky.
Keep curtain cords out of reach.
If you have low-hanging curtain or blind cords, tie the ends up with a twist tie at an elevation where the crawling baby cannot reach them.
For instance, if your crawling baby can reach one meter above, the ends of your curtain or blind cords should be at least two meters above.
This will prevent your crawling baby from getting strangled.
Remember to place cribs and baby beds away from curtain and blind cords, too.
If possible, replace your corded blinds with cordless ones.
Do not dress your crawling baby in stringy clothing or accessories.
Never dress your crawling baby in anything that has a drawstring or forms a loop.
For instance, necklaces, headbands, and the like should be off-limits when dressing your crawling baby.
This will prevent your crawling baby from getting the looped or stringy wearable caught on something and being strangled.
Avoiding Other Mishaps
Keep the crawling baby away from sharp corners of furniture.
If your crawling baby strays too close to a hard, sharp piece of furniture, they might get a splinter or suffer a cut or other injury.
Your crawling baby might jam their eye into a sharp corner and suffer a serious eye injury.
Monitor your crawling baby as they crawl and keep them away from sharp corners and edges of furniture.
Alternately, cover sharp, pointed edges of furniture with guards and padding (available at many home goods shops) or remove the sharp-cornered furniture altogether.
Prevent your crawling baby from accessing medicine.
If your crawling baby gets into medicine, they could overdose on the medicine and suffer serious harm.
All medicine should be stored in locked cabinets that are out of your crawling baby’s reach
This includes vitamins and other supplements.
For instance, instead of placing your medicine in a ground-level cabinet or drawer beneath the sink where your baby can easily access them, place your medicine in a locked cabinet two or three meters above the ground that your crawling baby will not be able to access.
Most medicine – both prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines – have baby-proof packaging and caps that make them hard to access.
Be sure to always replace the caps properly just in case your crawling baby does somehow crawl to these medications.
Prevent your crawling baby from accessing cleaning supplies.
Like medicine, cleaning supplies are very useful.
But in the hands of a crawling baby, they can be dangerous and cause serious harm.
Remove cleaning products from low-lying cabinets or shelves and place them in higher, out-of-reach places.
Don’t forget about dryer or dishwasher pods, as these have been associated with serious injuries to children.
Put locks or safety latches on cabinets and drawers.
If you don’t have room to move your medicine and cleaning supplies to a higher elevation where they will be inaccessible to your crawling baby, install locks or safety latches on the low-lying cabinets instead.
This is also a good idea for cabinets and drawers containing knives, firearms, matches, batteries, and other objects that your baby might choke on or use and get hurt.
Keep your crawling baby away from smoke.
Don’t smoke around your crawling baby.
Do not allow others to smoke around your crawling baby, either.
If somebody wants to smoke near your baby, say, “I’m sorry, my baby cannot tolerate smoke in their small lungs.
Please smoke outdoors.”
Keep your baby far from people who smoke.
Cigarette and cigar smoke clings to the clothes and your baby can inhale the smoke particles as secondhand smoke, which can be just as bad as regular smoke.
Have people remove their coats or change their clothing before being around the baby if they smoke outside.
Check the temperature of the bathwater before placing your crawling baby in it.
If the water is too hot, your crawling baby could be scalded.
No crawling baby should be placed in bathwater greater than 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit).
Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the tub water.
If you’ve drawn a bath for your crawling baby that is in excess of the acceptable temperature, simply wait a few minutes for the water to cool to an acceptable level.
Or, you can also add some cold water to the bath to cool it down quickly if it is too hot.
Never leave your crawling baby in the tub on their own. Crawling babies can drown easily in even two inches (5 cm) of water.
Cover all electrical outlets.
It would be hard for your crawling baby to get electrocuted, but it is possible.
To prevent such a misfortune from occurring, place an outlet cover over all your sockets.
You can choose from sliding covers, swing-shut covers, or clear solid-piece covers.
Keep alcohol, firearms, and any other hazardous items away from your baby.
To protect your baby as they roam about and explore, make sure to put away any other potentially hazardous items.
For example, you should keep all firearms locked in a safe and put alcohol up in a cabinet to keep it out of the reach of your baby.
If something seems like it could pose a danger to your baby as they crawl around, put it up out of their reach.
Carrying Baby Safely
Keep stairs and walkways clear of baby toys and clutter.
If your stairs and walkways are littered with toys and other debris that makes it hard to walk about without stepping on something, you might fall when carrying your crawling baby.
Your crawling baby might get hurt if you fall while holding them.
Assign each toy a special place.
For instance, you might get a large chest and place all your crawling baby’s toys in it.
Place the toy chest in a special play room.
When your crawling baby wants to play, take them to the play room. When playtime is concluded, replace all the toys in the toy chest.
Obtain a lidless toy chest. Otherwise, your crawling baby might accidentally slam their head in the toy chest and get injured.
Hold onto the handrails when going up and down stairs with your crawling baby.
Holding onto the handrails will give you a greater degree of balance while navigating stairs.
If you do not use the handrail, you increase your likelihood for a fall that could hurt your crawling baby.
Use a baby sling while navigating stairs so that you don’t have one hand on the handrail and one hand on the crawling baby.
Reduce your crawling baby’s risk of suffocation while in a sling.
To prevent your baby from suffocating in a sling, keep your baby tight to you and in view.
You should be able to see their face and they should be close enough to kiss.
Support your baby’s back so that they don’t slump over into your chest.
Never carry hot food or drink while carrying your crawling baby.
For instance, do not carry a mug of tasty hot chocolate in one hand while carrying your crawling baby in the other hand.
You’ll have a hard time supporting the crawling baby, and the hot chocolate might slosh all over your baby, leading to burns.
Instead of carrying hot food or drink along with your baby, first carry either your crawling baby or your food.
Set it down. Then, pick up the one that you didn’t carry and set it down, too.
Similarly, do not carry hot food or drink near a crawling baby.
You might trip on the crawling baby and your hot food or drink could spill on your crawling baby.
This will hurt your crawling baby and it will start crying.