How to Keep Your Crawling Baby Safe
Although pressure gates work fine at the bottom of a flight of stairs, they provide inadequate protection at the top of the stairs. If your baby falls into a pressure gate, uses it to pull himself up to his knees or feet, or even just pushes hard, he may pop it right out of place and crash down the stairs with it. So be sure to install a safety gate that bolts into the wall or newel post at the top of the stairs.
Once your baby starts crawling, you have to work 10 times harder to keep him safe. Now that he's on the move, your baby needs constant supervision. Otherwise, you'll find him getting into everything that's less than two or three feet off the floor.
Shortly after he begins crawling, he may start to pull himself to standing, or at least to kneeling. So he'll empty out your rack of CDs, cassette tapes, or videos, and somehow remove each one from its case. He'll dump wastepaper baskets. He'll pull things off of tables and other surfaces. To prevent mishaps, keep an eye on your baby at all times and never let down your guard.
In addition to providing constant supervision, you should take the following precautions:
- Keep all electric cords out of reach or secured to the floor. If your baby can grab a cord, he's sure to pull a lamp or clock or iron down on his head.
- Shield all electric outlets with safety caps. If your baby manages to stick a finger or a plaything into an outlet, he may get a nasty shock.
- Avoid leaving anything on the floor unless it's safe for your baby. Your baby will soon be able to cover lots of ground very quickly, so rid your floor of any choking hazards, toxins, and anything else that might do your baby harm.
- Install safety gates that block off stairs at both the bottom and the top. Crawling on stairs, especially going upstairs by himself, will be lots of fun for your baby. You may even want to encourage your baby's skill at climbing by getting a playroom set of sturdy wooden steps or a toddler slide that has three or four steps. However, you need to make sure that your baby doesn't go upstairs on her own whenever he pleases. When your baby crawls upstairs, stay right behind him. When he wants to come down again, try to teach him how to crawl down safely by going backwards. Again, stay right behind your baby at all times. And use those safety gates!
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bringing Up Baby © 1997 by Kevin Osborn. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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