HOW TO... make a safe surrounding for a child who is crawling or a toddler
If you have children who are crawling or in the toddler phase, you must already have realized that your home has suddenly become much bigger. There were many parts of your home that had yet been unexplored by the child, and you had some control over where the child was, whereas now even an instance is enough for it to pull a tablecloth with everything on it from the table, remove a curtain from its rod with one hand, stick its hands onto a hot oven, hit its little head on a table’s edge, turn on all the burners on a stove (because switches are fun) or charge with its unsteady walk down a staircase…
It is true that we can’t keep a child in a protective bubble, and we also can’keep it in our sight every second. It’s also true that it’s futile to explain it anything, as in that age they won’t understand it all.
Still, we can do all in our power, for example:
1) Get rid of all tablecloths, endure for a while without that decoration for your child’s safety and for remaining sane. A child is curious, and once it is standing up, it’s worldview as it was till that moment is completely changed. Now it sees things that it couldn’t before, and if it only rose on its toes it could see even more… It is logical and reflexive that it grabs the tablecloth in its desire to see or grab something sitting just in the middle of the table… and there comes trouble.
2) If it’s possible for you to live without curtains for a while, take them also off (if you have them), a child in its unstable walk reflexively holds onto stuff, and logically it will grab the curtains on its way to a window or balcony. Don’t underestimate a one year old’s strength. It can really take the curtain off of a rod with one hand, even with the rod.
3) On all table corners (but also other angled parts of furniture) place those protective silicones (they can be bought everywhere in baby stores), they don’t cost much and they protect from broken heads. If you don’t find those bumpers, you can make something similar yourself, from foam and electrician’s tape, or from plain silicone with which you’ll pad the corners.
4) If you have stairs, a baby fence is necessary, and it needs to be the one which is fastened to both sides of the staircase and with a safety lock. We’ve seen for hundreds of times how even cats can quickly resolve how to open a simple lock, and the child will likewise succeed in it, so take care that it is really well secured. The fence can also be bought in baby stores, and it can certainly be home made. In this case there are no cheap solutions, because any other obstacle that you can come up with instead of the baby fence is even more dangerous (a chair, table, dresser and similar)
It is ideal that you teach a child to go down the stairs alone as soon as possible, feet first, like when it’s getting off bed. It is better to teach it than to forbid it for too long, since, once the child adopts it, it will safely be able to both go down and climb – on all fours.
5) Stoves and heaters in your home – we don’t all have highly placed ovens out of child’s reach, nor do we have stoves that lock. Both for the stove and for other heaters in our homes stands the same rule – it is hot and it must be repeated a million times that it should not be approached (just like electric sockets). When an oven is on, keep an eye on your child. Direct the child to hold onto other pieces of furniture and to avoid kitchen. There are also various protectors for ovens and heaters.
6) Electric sockets at home – you must place socket covers everywhere, ones that go deep, which the child can’t extract. Avoid those that come with lights, because they are even more attractive to children. Covers are cheap and also hide all the sockets you can with some bulky furniture to make them inaccessible.
7) move all furniture from the middle of the room – basically, for a child who’s started to crawl, which is also true for those who are learning to walk, as a rule, you should place all the furniture along room edges, enabling the child to move unhindered in the room, and if it falls, it will fall onto floor or carpet, and won’t hit anything in the middle of the room. While the child is learning to walk, remove all rugs you have which are slippery, don’t polish your floor because it also mustn’t be slippery. Select socks with rubber soles or shoes/slippers which are not slippery, or just let the child walk barefooted, it is up to you.
8) There are also locks for all the kitchen or other furniture that opens, which can be bought in baby stores, or you can make some such protection from a child opening it yourself (for example, tape cupboards with masking tape high up)
Generally, avoid baby walkers. Some countries (Canada, for example) have abolished them, since it’s turned out that more accidents happened to children using them than those who did not. The most dangerous combination is a walker and stairs. Also, doctors and physiatrists around the world do not recommend walkers because a child learns to walk and stand more stable without it. The decision is, certainly, yours, with all precautions, of course.
Some children will not crawl, crawling is not a necessary phase, and it shouldn’t worry you, some children walk earlier and some later and it is all personal. Some children will first learn to walk and then crawl. However it is, all that’s been under control till then no longer is, and rules change.
Remember that a crawling child is faster than a walking one, and often faster than ourselves, and certainly than grandparents!