How to Make Your Home Safe & Fun for Baby’s First Steps
Make your home a safe, fun place as your baby learns to crawl and walk -- and encourage their budding mobility -- with these baby safety tips.
Step 1: Get a baby's-eye view Get down on all fours and crawl around to get a baby's-eye view of your home, removing any potentially threatening objects along the way. Add a few baby-height structures that will help your child learn to stand. Just make sure they have soft edges and are steady enough for them to use to pull themselves up and balance on. Bolting heavy furniture like bookcases and dressers to the wall is crucial for baby safety as well.
TIP: Anything that fits through the opening of a toilet paper roll is a choking hazard. Also be careful of dangling drapery cords.
Step 2: Prop them up Give your baby "tummy time" to encourage crawling. Make them more comfortable by tucking a rolled-up bath towel under their arms and upper body, positioning it so their elbows are just touching the floor. This will slightly raise their upper body, helping them view their surroundings. Lie on the floor in front of them and dangle some toys just above their head to entice them to push up with their arms.
TIP: Laying your baby horizontally across your thighs as you sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you is another way to prop them up.
Step 3: Lower the decor Place pictures at your baby's eye level. Babies don't just like bright, solid colors; they love contrasting hues and patterns in any shade. Scatter toys at various heights in your baby's line of vision so they gain practice reaching for objects. Babies also love to look at themselves! Install an unbreakable mirror for baby’s safety.
Step 4: Control their exploration Set some boundaries. Install gates at the top and bottom of staircases, and cover electrical outlets. Keeping cleaning supplies, medicines, vitamins, and alcohol in locked cabinets or cupboards too high for your baby to reach are also important for baby’s safety. But clear out one or two low cabinets, fill them with soft objects, and leave them unlocked so your baby has a safe way to explore.
Step 5: Create varying floor surfaces Expose them to a variety of floor surfaces to help them hone their crawling and walking skills: Put mats of varying thickness on smooth floors and carpets; let them practice their balance on grass and sand. Make sure they have plenty of open space, and for baby’s safety, ensure that they can fall without hitting furniture or other obstacles.
Step 6: Help them climb Use sofa cushions to create a gentle incline for them to scale. Create a baby obstacle course with pillows of various sizes; dangling a favorite toy is a great way to encourage them along! Cheer on your baby along the way.
Step 7: Build a tunnel Open the top and bottom flaps of a large, clean cardboard box. Cut out windows at baby level for ventilation and to add interest to the journey. Crawl from one end to the other; then encourage your baby to do the same.
Step 8: Treasure these times Treasure these first, wobbly steps. They'll be asking for your car keys before you know it!
FACT: Some babies never crawl -- they go straight to walking!