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Step One of Your Child
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 "experiments". 

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.