You should have seen our house when my daughter was starting to crawl –couch cushions lined up along the stone fireplace, soft chairs lying sideways in front of the TV, foam covers on any potentially hazardous sharp corner and, of course, the ubiquitous electrical outlet plugs.

Our first time parent status was on full display to anyone who walked through our door. But in our defense, the world can be a scary place and as soon as Baby is mobile, it seems that looming peril is endless.

You don’t even have to be a type A, plan for anything, control your surroundings, over-analyzer like me to feel the fear; Googling how to baby proof your house is enough to send anyone into a panic attack.

Honestly, I hope I’ve lightened up a little over the years and I try to live in considerably less fear. While there are real dangers, there are also many products like baby gates and safety locks to help keep our little crawlers out of trouble.

Additionally, conventional wisdom tells us to keep a sharp eye out for anything that our babies could choke on, get tangled up in, or pull down on to themselves. But sometimes a healthy fear and some lesser known information can help guide you toward good judgment.

Here’s a safety concern you may not have considered: wearing your shoes in the house.

Did you know the bottom of your shoe may contain an average of 421,000 units of bacteria?  

University of Arizona conducted different experiments to determine what could be on the bottom of our shoes and how easily it could be tracked into our houses. They identified nine species of bacteria and found that the bacteria transferred to a clean surface 90% of the time.

Now that I’ve terrified you about the primordial ooze in which your baby is now crawling, let me also implore you to call on that conventional wisdom again; not all bacteria are bad, in fact most are good and necessary. We are not going to be able to avoid all germs, nor should we; our immune systems need them. 

And lest you think you need to throw out all your shoes and pull up all your carpets, the U of A study also found that after cleaning, 99% of the bacteria were removed. So give your shoes and floors a good scrubbing, leave your shoes by the door and let your little one go.

Remember, it’s good to be informed so we can take wise action. When we employ good cleaning habits we can cut down on the harmful bacteria in our home and thereby keep our little crawler safer. 

There’s nothing wrong with being a little overprotective and extra vigilant. People like to mock first time parents, but don’t be apologetic about your pursuit of protecting your most precious gifts.

But don’t let it drive you crazy either or make you think you have to sterilize everything before you let your crawler loose to explore their expanding world. Good practices and common sense go a long way toward safe and healthy living.

What’s your favorite crawler safety tip?


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Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman is the co-author of “Education Begins at Birth: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” She is a former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom who enjoys traveling, hiking in the mountains, and creating memories together with her husband and little girl.


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