Creating a safe crawling environment
With crawling starting at around nine months (even earlier with some babies), life as you know it is about to change! Here’s how to keep your baby free from potential hazards and create a safe environment for crawling and pulling up.
Child proofing is a work in progress. As your child grows, they’ll learn to climb stairs, push and pull doors and reach into drawers. It’s important to keep watch for any new hazards that crop up.
General safety tips for crawlers
- Buy electrical appliances with short cords so babies and toddlers are less likely to swing, pull and trip on cords.
- Heaters and fires are safer with screens that are fixed to the wall.
- Swimming pools and outdoor spas must have a fence and self-locking gate that meet the requirements of the Department of Building and Housing NZ.
- Install safety guards across entries to balconies and always supervise small children on balconies even if you have guards.
- Lock windows, particularly upper-storey windows, or shield them with firmly attached screens, so babies can’t fall out.
- Keep a basic first-aid kit in the house.
- Put stickers across glass doors or windows at the height of your child’s face so that they don’t run into them.
- Install safety glass, particularly in floor-to-ceiling windows, or cover glass with sticky plastic film so it doesn't shatter when broken.
Kitchen safety tips for crawlers
- Turn saucepan handles towards the back of the stove when cooking.
- Consider replacing tablecloths with place mats, as inquisitive babies could easily pull a tablecloth down.
- Put knives, scissors and graters in a drawer with a childproof lock or out of reach.
- Store food processors and blenders out of reach. If they’re on the bench, unplug them and turn switches off at the wall.
Bathroom safety tips for crawlers
- Mark hot and cold taps clearly and consider installing safety taps that young children can’t turn on.
- Always put the lids on nappy buckets and keep them in a safe place where a child can't climb into or fall into them.
- Fit a child-resistant cabinet for medicines, aerosols, hair products, razors and cleaning products, or keep them out of reach.
- Lower the temperature of your hot-water system.
Living room safety tips for crawlers
- Attach bookcases to the wall and teach small children not hang off or climb onto shelves.
- Install safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
- Use plastic socket covers in empty electrical sockets.
- Pad sharp corners of furniture with foam or cushioning.
- To prevent slippages, secure loose floor coverings or rugs and wipe up floor spills as soon as possible.
- Furniture and fabrics should be made from low-flammability materials.