5 Things to know when your baby starts crawling

Each stage of baby's development is so exciting, but the moment your baby starts crawling – the real fun begins! This phase of your baby's life is a learning experience for both of you, so be prepared! Here are five things you should know when your baby starts crawling.

Baby-proof early

Crawling is preceded by rolling over. It is evident that all babies develop at different paces; however, note that "Typically, your baby starts to roll over and back and forth around four months of age, then most start crawling after that stage." You should start baby-proofing your home at this time, before s/he is actually on the move, since it will take a little bit of time to complete the baby-proofing process.

The Home Safety Council has raised awareness about accidental infant and child injury, notes, "Fifty percent of moms and dads wait until their kids are crawling before they begin to baby-proof their living space, leaving children at risk of at-home injury."

Keep the floor clean

Think about where your baby is going to be – on the floor. The biggest piece of advice? Vacuum! "Consider what your baby is going to find on the ground...and where s/he is going to put it: in his/her mouth. It is highly suggested to get down on the ground and see the world from your baby's eyes. A piece of dog food, a lost penny, or a small piece of an older child's toy are all choking hazards for a young baby.

When to expect baby to crawl

Once again, it is noted that all babies develop at their own paces, but typically babies start to crawl somewhere around eight to nine months of age.

Older siblings can help too

If you have an older child, it might be tough to have him/her keep all of his toys (especially those with small parts) off the floor at all times. However, we suggest some things you can do to help your older child understand baby's crawling and exploration stage. To help him comprehend that baby could choke on small toys, let your child create his own "toy measurer" using an old toilet paper roll and some decorating materials of your choice. (Yes, you can buy a toy measurer at the store for about $12 to $15, but where's the fun in that?)

Next, show your child that if a toy is small enough to slip through the toy measurer it needs to be kept out of baby's reach. However "Instead of making this a negative thing like, 'baby can't play with that,' stress the positive twist by saying, 'you can play with that toy, but it needs to be kept in a special place.'" Then allow your child to choose a special place in the home where he can keep and play with the smaller toys that need to be kept out of baby's reach.

Your baby may not crawl at all

"Some kids army crawl, some get up on all fours to get around, some just roll around to get where they want to go, and some skip straight to pulling themselves up and then to walking." There is no need to worry if your child doesn't crawl in the traditional sense. All these variations are perfectly normal. If you ever have any concerns about your child's developmental milestones, make an appointment with your pediatrician to discuss the issue as soon as possible.

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