Ah, those crawling days... It's both thrilling and adorable when baby finally figures out how to hoist herself up on all fours and shakily scoot her little body across the floor. It then becomes less thrilling and adorable once parents realize: Oh my god she's for real mobile and wait what did she just put in her mouth and oh look that giant Ikea lamp is about to crash to the floor and eek, how do I protect baby's knees while crawling...
The crawling phase of course requires some intense, for real baby-proofing: baby locks on certain cabinets, baby gates on certain rooms, tucking away electrical cords, vacuuming like it's your life's vocation, etc. But it also can raise concerns about a little one's kneecaps. How can parents protect a baby's knees during crawling and keep her little legs from suddenly looking like she's the goalie for Man United?
As mentioned above, vacuuming or sweeping or Roomba-ing is a must. (*Note: don't let the Roomba eat the baby.) Make sure the floor is clear of anything that could cause injury, or anything small enough to be jammed into a tiny mouth.
And if you don't happen to have wall-to-wall carpeting or live inside a bouncy house? What To Expect suggests parents put down nonslip rugs where they can, or pick up a floor pad at a baby store. (Skip Hop has some really cute interlocking foam floor tiles. They even come in neutral shades if you aren't quite ready for your living room to look like a preschool. ) For homes that do have a lot of hardwood floors, What To Expect reminds parents to make sure the surface is smooth. Check for splinters, nails, scorpions — anything that could cause baby harm.
Clothing of course plays an important role for a little crawler. While that eyelet sundress from Baby Gap is indeed precious, it is not so great when one's mode of transport is down on all fours. Babies should be dressed in comfy pants, or at the very least, leggings.
And if parents really want to double-down on knee protection, there are loads of super cute baby knee pads available for purchase. The site Crawlings is devoted entirely to baby knee pads. And Etsy even has some sweet little pants with built-in butterfly knee pads. Because Etsy thinks of everything! (An intestines necklace, anyone?)
Much of baby knee safety is common sense. Don't let a child crawl through a gravel pit or over rough cement, for instance. Also, maybe don't enter them in a baby race. (Unless of course you have the Seabiscuit of babies. Then go for it. I guess?)
And if their little knees should become aggravated or scratched? Pediatrician and parenting expert Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg tells Romper: "For minor skin irritation and rug burn, apply a soothing thick ointment to protect, like Vaseline or Aquaphor. But prevention is key, with appropriate clothing and even knee pads if you have a real active crawler."
A crawling baby is a whole new ballgame. And sure, right now you think her crawl is so cutely clumsy and slow... but I advise you not to blink, Mom. Because in about four seconds that kid is going to be speed-scuttling down the hall like a hermit crab on caffeine.