Each stage of baby's development is so exciting, but the moment your baby starts crawling – the real fun begins! This phase of your baby's life is a learning experience for both of you, so be prepared! Here are five things you should know when your baby starts crawling.
Crawling is preceded by rolling over, according to Pediatrician Tracey Drummond, M.D., of East Scottsdale Medical Care. She stresses that all babies develop at different paces; however, she notes that, "Typically, your baby starts to roll over and back and forth around four months of age, then most start crawling after that stage." She insists that you should start babyproofing your home at this time, before he is actually on the move, since it will take a little bit of time to complete the baby-proofing process.
Echoing this statement, Adrienne Giordano with Babies "R" Us, which just partnered with the Home Safety Council to raise awareness about accidental infant and child injury, notes, "Fifty percent of moms and dads wait until their kids are crawling before they begin to babyproof their living space, leaving children at risk of at-home injury." For more safety tips, read 30 Ways to babyproof your home.
Keep the floor clean
Think about where your baby is going to be – on the floor. Drummond's biggest piece of advice? Vacuum! "Consider what baby is going to find on the ground...and where he's going to put it: in his mouth," she says. She suggests getting down on the ground and seeing the world from your baby's eyes. A piece of dog food, a lost penny, or a small piece of an older child's toy are all choking hazards for a young baby.
When to expect baby to crawl
Once again, Drummond notes that all babies develop at their own paces, but she says that typically babies start to crawl somewhere around eight to nine months of age.
Older siblings can help too
If you have an older child, it might be tough to have him keep all of his toys (especially those with small parts) off the floor at all times. However, Drummond suggests some things you can do to help your older child understand baby's crawling and exploration stage. To help him comprehend that baby could choke on small toys, let your child create his own "toy measurer" using an old toilet paper roll and some decorating materials of your choice. (Yes, you can buy a toy measurer at the store for about $12 to $15, but where's the fun in that?)
Next, show your child that if a toy is small enough to slip through the toy measurer it needs to be kept out of baby's reach. However, Drummond notes, "Instead of making this a negative thing like, 'baby can't play with that,' stress the positive twist by saying, 'you can play with that toy, but it needs to be kept in a special place.'" Then allow your child to choose a special place in the home where he can keep and play with the smaller toys that need to be kept out of baby's reach.
Your baby may not crawl at all
"Some kids army crawl, some get up on all fours to get around, some just roll around to get where they want to go, and some skip straight to pulling themselves up and then to walking," says Drummond. There is no need to worry if your child doesn't crawl in the traditional sense. All these variations are perfectly normal, according to Drummond. However, if you ever have any concerns about your child's developmental milestones, make an appointment with your pediatrician to discuss the issue as soon as possible.
More on babyproofing
Guide to baby proofing your home
Think like a baby and make sure all the hidden dangers are eliminated so your child remains safe.