The first time your baby crawls is exciting. You’ve been watching them teeter on their hands and knees for what feels like ages, and then they finally take that first step (crawl-step?). The excitement, however is short lived. You quickly realize you have done zero baby-proofing. Suddenly everything in the house is a hazard! So, without further ado – here are some helpful tips for converting your house into a crawl-safe space for your babe.
Clean Clean Clean
As it would turn out, babies are extremely good at finding a mess. Whether it’s the cat puke behind the couch you didn’t know was there, or the three month old cheese puff casually hanging out under the coffee table, your baby will find it. So, the first step to baby proofing is to clean the crap out of everything. Sweep under the couches, dust the baseboards, wash the walls (or at least the bottom half of the walls), shake out the rugs, and sanitize the floors. Clean all those things you keep telling yourself you’ll do “next weekend.” I’m telling you, babies get everywhere. I don’t even like keeping my dog dishes on the floor anymore – the other day I found my baby cleaning one of them with her tongue. She’s also tried to eat multiple dust bunnies and balls of fur, so constant sweeping/vacuuming is a must. Also, if your baby is anything like mine, they like to crawl around and put things in their mouth. If you’re too busy (or lazy) to sanitize everything in the dishwasher or sink multiple times a day, I suggest these – Munchkin Arm and Hammer Pacifier Wipes. They’re for keeping the yuckies off of whatever your baby happens to be chewing on, so go nuts (within reason). If you find yourself wiping down a shoelace or a phone charger, you’re doing it wrong.
Focus On One Area
I know, baby-proofing the whole house can be a daunting task. If I’m being honest, I don’t think this is really necessary until your little is less of a baby and more of a toddler. If you plan on giving your baby free reign of the house, I wish you the best of luck. For us, however, it made more sense to focus on one major area. We chose the living room, since that is where we spend most of our time together as a family. We bought a couple gates to close off the area. We chose these. They’re mounted right into the wall with hardware, so they’re definitely not going anywhere. They open and close with a very simple latch, and you can actually take the whole gate off in a matter of seconds if you need to. We also covered any outlets with classic outlet plugs or over the cord covers (Safety 1st has a great option for this). We covered up any sharp corners or edges on furniture, hid the electronics (not well enough – she likes turning the Xbox on and off endlessly), and bought a few little totes for items we don’t want her getting into. We also did the same to her nursery. Every other room generally stays closed. If we bring her to another room, we make sure to keep two sharp eyes on her at all times.
Make It Comfortable
When was the last time you got down on the floor and crawled around on your hands and knees? Did it feel good? Probably not. Even with carpet, the floor is hard. If you don’t have carpet, it can also be slippery. I watched my baby struggle for weeks on our floors – she could get up on her hands and knees, but couldn’t move anywhere. Finally, I realized she needed some traction to get her going. My mother gifted us with these. The knee pads have little grips on them to help give her some stick. Those, combined with a rug and some exercise mats finally did the trick. Eventually, I upgraded to a foam play mat that was big enough to cover a good chunk of the living room floor. The mat provides traction and some relief for little knees on the hard floor. Also, if she wipes out she’s not going to bonk her head on a hard surface. Once your baby starts crawling, there’s no stopping them. You might as well make it a little easier and a little more comfortable for them.
Like I said, baby-proofing can be a daunting task. My advice is not to leave it to the last minute like I did. Slowly get things ready while your baby is stationary, so you don’t have that “oh shit” moment when they’re mobile. Finally, have fun. Crawling babies are adorable, and make even the most mundane tasks exciting. My girl likes to chase the dust pile while I’m sweeping, so cleaning is now a race against my crawling baby. 🙃