Once you see how fast your baby can cruise around, the phrase “slow to a crawl” will never again make sense to you. To keep your kid from cruisin’ for a bruisin’, you’ll want to do more babyproofing and try some new tricks to keep your child safe and happy. Here are our favorite tips and tricks.
1. Safety First
A crawling baby means a new round of baby-proofing. Padding furniture corners, covering electrical outlets, tying up loose cords and installing stairway gates are a great start, but there are plenty of less obvious spots that need to be secured. Add locks to toilets and cabinets or doors that conceal electronics, toiletries, cleaners or glassware, and secure large furniture to the wall to prevent them from tipping over. Pro tip: To get a better sense of what could harm your baby, sit down and lay down on the floor to see your home from a baby's level. You’ll discover sharp edges, dangling cords and other potential hazards more easily.
2. Toilet Paper Tube Trick
Crawling babies have more access to items they can put in their mouths, whether that’s dog food or an older sibling’s LEGOs. Not sure what's a choking hazard? Use the toilet paper tube trick. If the item fits through the tube, it should be kept out of baby’s reach.
3. Skin Saver
Hard surfaces can damage a crawling baby’s delicate skin. Rough floors, concrete playgrounds or even carpet can cause scraped, bruised or raw knees from frequent contact. Save your baby’s knees—and pants—by slipping leg warmers or baby knee pads, like the cute ones above from Simply Kids, over baby’s legs. Pro tip: Baby knee pads are also good protection for wobbly toddlers who take frequent tumbles.
4. Staying Alert
Baby-proofing your home is the first step in keeping baby safe, but any time you venture out and about with a mobile baby, you’ll have to stay on kid watch like your baby's life depends on it (because it does). Even new crawlers are shockingly quick. If you have any doubts about whether you can stay fully focused on your little explorer, play it safe and strap baby into a stroller or carrier.
5. Try Redirection
A crawling or toddling baby can leave quite a trail as they explore everything in reach. To keep them occupied with safe items, keep a small basket of baby-safe toys and books in each room to capture their attention when necessary and keep them away from cereal boxes, markers and other major messes.
6. Timing Is Everything
If you find yourself having trouble accomplishing tasks with a baby on the loose, try adjusting your schedule. For example, cut down on time in the kitchen by relying on quick prep or slow cooker recipes. Consider showering at night after baby's bedtime and saving certain tasks for naptime or moments when you have someone else to watch your little mover.
7. Get Germ-Aware
Keeping a crawling baby clean when you're away from home can be a challenge. Keep a stash of wipes and sanitizer in your diaper bag for your outings, and a change of clothes in case of bigger messes.
8. Keep a Surprise Toy Stash
How can you entertain your little cruiser when you need to shower, take a phone call or respond to emails? Keep a stash of “surprise” toys that stay out of your regular toy rotation. Pulling out the basket of “new” trinkets can keep your mobile mini-me entertained for a few minutes while you take care of business or relax for some much-needed me time.
9. Plan a Pool Party!
Turn your blow-up pool into a ball pit by adding colorful plastic balls. Your child will have room to move freely while exploring, and you’ll rest easy knowing baby is contained and entertained.
10. Cook Up Some Quiet
If trying to prep pasta primavera with baby running amok (or attached to your leg) sounds like a recipe for disaster, let your wee one hang in the high chair and watch you. You can sing songs, tell stories, or offer an assortment of finger foods to keep them entertained.
11. Relocate Your Belongings
If you find yourself frequently cleaning up a certain area—whether baby is obsessed with pulling books off of your shelves or shoes out of your closet—save yourself the constant cleanup and move your belongings upward on higher shelves. Consider this the flooding stage of parenting. As your baby zooms through the house like a force of nature, you move items upwards to keep them out of baby’s wake.
12. Repeat After Us
If snagging your baby inches from the curb for the millionth time or baby-proofing has you ready to pull out your (now graying) hairs, remember: It’s just a phase. Trust us, "It's just a phase," will become your new favorite parenting mantra. Bonus: This useful phrase is surprisingly versatile! You'll likely be using it for one thing or another for, oh, the next 18 years or so.