Has your baby started crawling yet? Baby crawling is a big milestone, and if you have a child under one, you might be wondering about when babies crawl, and how you can help them get moving.
We look at all the questions you might have in our guide to baby crawling, with some extra tips on how to childproof your house to make it safe when your baby is on the move.
At What Age Do Babies Crawl?
Babies usually start crawling from around 7-12 months.
However, some babies might crawl slightly earlier, and some much later.
What Are The First Signs Of Crawling?
Although it can seem like your baby goes from a tiny newborn to a fully mobile crawling baby in the blink of an eye, babies usually start crawling after they can roll over, and when they are strong enough to be able to sit independently, which happens at around six months.
You will probably see initial signs of crawling before they move. Some babies balance on all fours, for example, or might lean forward on their hands.
Why Is Crawling Important For Babies?
Crawling is a key baby movement milestone. It’s an important step because it helps babies develop hand / eye co-ordination and strengthens their shoulders, arms, and legs.
It paves the way for future movement steps such as cruising and walking. It also helps babies to develop the fine motor skills that they use their arms for, such as holding a pencil or playing with small toys.
How Can I Help My Baby To Crawl?
If you’re wondering how you can help your baby with crawling, here are some simple ideas:
- Tummy Time
Tummy time, where you place your baby on their tummy for short periods of time, can help with crawling as it starts to build your baby’s upper body strength, and strengthens the back, neck, and shoulders.
Start off by having your baby lie on your chest for short times when they are awake, and then move on to small amounts of time on the floor. Lots of babies aren’t keen on tummy time, so make sure you try short amounts of time at first, place toys on the floor and sing and play with them.
- Place Toys Away From Them
A good incentive to get your baby moving is to place favourite toys away from them on the floor. If they can’t reach them, the temptation to reach them might incentivise them to move towards them.
- Roll Toys Past Them
If your baby is on the floor, you can also roll toys past them. Use things like small balls or trucks. The momentum might be enough to get them to move forward to reach them.
Is It Normal For My Baby To Crawl Backwards?
Yes! Lots of babies crawl backwards before they crawl forwards. It’s also normal for babies to get around by rolling, shuffling on their bottoms, or slithering on the floor first.
Can You Buy Baby Crawling Mats?
You might be worried about the impact of the floor on your baby’s hands and knee when they start crawling, especially if you have hard floors or wooden floorboards. You can buy soft baby play mats made of carpet or foam which should soften the floor.
However, any kind of rug or mat placed on the floor should help, and you can even use blankets to make a soft area for them to practise crawling on.
Does My Child Need Baby Crawling Knee Pads?
Unless your child has additional medical needs, they shouldn’t need knee pads when crawling. Make sure there is a soft surface on the floor to help protect them. You can also dress them in leggings or an all-in-one baby grow that covers their knees for extra protection.
When Should I Be Concerned About My Baby Not Crawling?
Remember that all babies develop at slightly different stages, and while it might seem like some babies crawl quickly, others take more time.
However, if you’re worried that your child is not crawling or moving much, mention it to your health visitor, or bring it up at your baby’s one-year check.
How To Childproof Your House For Baby Crawling
When your child starts crawling, you’ll soon realise how quickly they can move, and why there’s a real need to make your house baby proof.
Simple tips for making your house safe for a crawling baby include:
- Move all electric cables out of the way and make sure plug sockets are covered safely.
- Make sure all blind cords are secured safely to the wall and high up where babies can’t reach them.
- If you have steps or stairs, use baby stair gates.
- Take everything that’s within reach and put it on higher shelves or out of the way. Make sure there’s nothing a baby can pull off a shelf, and potentially pull on top of their head.
- You can buy plastic or magnetic catches or locks for drawers and cupboards. These are something to consider in your kitchen.
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