The National Parenting Center

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Home Safety For The Mobile Baby

The home that’s safe and comfortable for you can be a literal deathtrap for your crawling or newly-walking baby. Don’t leave childproofing your home until the day she gets moving, you could be one day too late.

• Try to see the environment through a crawling baby’s eyes – that means getting down on the floor. If there are steps or stairs, she could crawl over the edge; you need safety gates. Remember to gate the bottom as well as the top, or she’ll crawl up and fall all the way down again.

• She’ll play with anything she can reach; that means safety plugs in electrical outlets and banishment for dangling cords.

• She’ll put anything she plays with in her mouth, and that may mean a new home for the trash, new rules for everyone about putting away scissors, putting away pins, and it’s never too early to watch out for poisons too.

• Above all, she could burn or scald herself on a fireplace or your cup of coffee.

• However safe you think you’ve made a living room, don’t leave a mobile baby alone and loose on the floor. But don’t rely on imprisoning her in a playpen either. She can’t learn if she can’t explore.

• In the end, her minute by minute safety depends on your supervision, so when you’ve installed every safety gadget you can think of, send for a second pair of eyes to wear in the back of your head.

Penelope Leach, Ph.D., is one of the world’s most respected (and best-loved) developmental child psychologists. She is most widely known for her best-selling books on child development and parenting. They include Babyhood, Children First: What Society Must Do — and Is Not Doing — for Our Children Today, the classic Your Baby & Child: From Birth to Age Five (now in a new edition for a new generation), and Your Growing Child: From Babyhood Through Adolescence.


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