It's extremely important to childproof your home before your
baby becomes mobile, because once your infant is crawling around and discovering his or
her exciting, new environment, it may be too late to make changes.
One great way to gain a better understanding of your baby's
environment -- an eye-opening baby's eye-view, that is, how your baby will see the world
once she or he is out there exploring -- is to crawl around your home on all fours. As an
adult, you'll be able to recognize dangerous situations that your child could get into,
and make changes before your curious baby gets there. SO strap on some knee-pads, and take
these important first steps before your baby does.
As a new parent, you'll find there's more work to do than you
ever expected; some aspects of housecleaning may safely go by the board, due to time and
energy constraints. But, once your infant is learning to crawl, you'll need to seriously
upgrade your "picking up" skills. Infants and young children learn a lot about
the world by putting things they find into their mouths, so it's truly important to
prevent this kind of temptation. Looking around on hands and knees will help you discover
areas in your home where "picking up" will be a top priority; for example, as an
adult, you rarely see the stuff that rolls under furniture, but when you're looking at the
world from a baby's eye- view, you'll find all sorts of potentially harmful stuff.
For this reason, you'll need to keep your floors cleaner than
ever before. What were once just bits of litter that you'd get around to picking or
vacuuming up, have now become very dangerous objects, as far as a toddler is concerned.
You'll need to keep your floors free of things like pins, bottle caps, toothpaste caps,
small pieces of food (peas, candies, cookie bits, peanuts, popcorn), marbles, buttons,
paper clips, dry pet food, coins, jewelry (earrings, rings), and even dustballs or
"furballs" formed from carpet fibres.
You'll also discover that, on all fours, your head will be
awfully close to all the sharp corners on furniture -- coffee tables, for example. And
look at all those tempting objects on top of the coffee table: newspapers, magazines, the
TV remote, perhaps a decorative glass paperweight, or items that you took out of your
pocket or purse, such as coins, keys, matches, or a roll of antacid. Your baby would no
doubt find all these treasures fascinating! Maybe he or she will even sustain a bad bump
on the head when reaching for the interesting objects. You'll find you may have to replace
some furniture, or get corner-covers to make sure your baby doesn't hurt her or himself
when crawling or learning to walk.
Drapery and electrical cords dangle invitingly at a baby's
eye-level; stools and small tables wait to be toppled by an infant learning to walk and
seeking support. Often, adults just become accustomed to their environment and the layout
of their homes, and for this reason aren't aware of the hazards that exist there for
children. We, as adults, also take a lot of things in our homes for granted, because we
have learned to handle them; we know, for example, not to pull a lamp off an end table by
its cord. It's obvious -- to us. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about our children.
Getting down on all fours helps us see the world in a new way, and opens up our eyes to
potential dangers we might not have thought about.
Some items in the home may not be dangerous, but will
nonetheless pose potential problems. VCR's, for example, have that interesting cassette
loading flap; what could your baby find to put in there? Once you're looking at the world,
from your baby's viewpoint, you'll find many more areas for potential
As you can see, your first steps in childproofing your home
should be taken on all fours! You'll find that doing this simple exercise will really help
you recognize the dangers that exist for children, and you'll be well on your way to a
healthy and safety-conscious frame of mind.