One of the first few things that I asked myself before getting a playpen was “should I let my baby crawl on the hardwood floor?”
Would her knees get hurt crawling on the floor?
Does she need to wear knee pads?
What if she scrapes her skin and gets wounded?
Or worse, what if she falls and hits her head on the floor?!
By the way, the playpen is for my sanity so I can have some break and I don’t need to look around and chase every 2 seconds.
Otherwise, I just let her crawl in the nursery room and living room. On the hard floor.
But I digress.
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Should I Let My Baby Crawl on the Hardwood Floor
Yes, you should your baby crawl on the hardwood floor!
Your little one should experience crawling on various surfaces – carpets, tiles, grass, etc., for their overall development.
To elaborate, here are a few points why it’s perfectly okay and even beneficial for your baby to learn how to crawl on hard floors.
Developmental Benefits of Baby Crawling on Hardwood Floors
Teaches them how to be adaptable
You might think that your baby is too young to learn cause and effect or the consequences of their actions but boy, you’re in for a treat!
By 5 months, your baby is starting to recognize the idea of cause and effect.
When they throw their food, it falls. When they grab food using their hand, it stays in their hand. And so on.
When they crawl on a hardwood floor, they will initially be unfamiliar with how to grip the floors, how slow they should crawl, and how they should avoid banging on things and hurting themselves.
But they will eventually learn.
If your baby is growing normally, they will eventually grasp the idea of cause and effect when it comes to crawling.
They’ll eventually learn to look where they’re going, avoid certain areas, crawl cautiously, etc.
They will learn to adapt to crawling on the hardwood floor.
A few moms from a popular parenting group shared that their baby used to get bruises and would bump into things then he started becoming more careful.
Their babies learn every time they get bumps, bruises, and or even when they fall!
So in short, letting your baby crawl on hardwood floors or any type of surface will teach them how to adapt to their environment.
Develops their confidence
Letting your baby crawl on hardwood floors, carpets and different kinds of surfaces makes them feel more competent.
It makes them feel that they can handle it and they can probably explore more if mom or dad allows it!
If you’re not showing them your fear that they might get hurt or if they don’t feel that you’re scared for them when they’re crawling on any surfaces, it will boost their confidence to explore more avenues.
That confidence can carry on to childcare or preschool, which can help them adjust and adapt to their environment.
They will carry that sense of security and confidence, knowing that you will always be there even if they get hurt and that they can learn their lessons and they are capable of doing hard things!
Improves their gross motor skills
Although crawling has been removed by the CDC from their milestone checklist, it still offers a lot of benefits for your baby, such as developing and improving their gross motor skills.
Crawling helps to strengthen your baby’s trunk, arms, and legs.
It’s a great exercise to work on their coordination, which is needed for walking.
How Do I Protect My Baby from Hardwood Floors?
Some parents recommend leg warmers or regular leggings or pants or even a knee protector, just to avoid the occasional scratches and scrapes.
But take note your baby can slip a lot while wearing them, hindering their physical development.
Knee pads/ protectors can also hold your baby back in trying to figure out how to move on the hardwood floors.
Wearing a helmet or any other protective gear can be overkill, because of the developmental benefits above.
You can put some crawling rugs or carpets or mats to cushion your baby’s fall.
But in the long run, it’s better for your baby to crawl on the floor as that’s the way for them to learn their boundaries and explore their environment.
The Danger of a Baby Falling on Hardwood Floors
Most babies would be fine even if they bump their heads or fall on the floor occasionally while crawling.
A 2015 study from various researchers even says that most fall-related head injuries in young children don’t usually have serious effects.
What’s actually more dangerous is when your baby falls from a higher distance, like from a crib, table, or from your arms.
Those cases can pose a greater risk of serious injury, compared to a baby bumping their head on the wall or falling on the floor, while crawling.
Baby Crawling Safety Tips
See the floor from your baby’s POV
Lay down on your stomach, look around and you’ll notice a lot of things that were not prominent before, that you need to keep away from your baby!
Designate a crawling space
If you live in a small house or apartment and you’re okay with your baby crawling everywhere, then skip this tip.
But if you’re not keen on letting your baby crawl all around the house, give them a dedicated crawling space.
You can put up some barriers in the living room or install a baby gate by the nursery room and let them crawl there.
Baby proof to the max
Babyproofing would be much easier if you have a crawling space allotted to your baby, as there are fewer things to babyproof.
Nevertheless, keep a lookout for house plants that can be toxic and a choking hazard.
Remember to cover electrical outlets, pad sharp edges, keep the floors clean, check for small buttons or items that they can swallow, take note of curtains and fabrics that they can reach and pull, etc.
Keep an eye on your baby
Especially if they have free reign of the entire house!
They can get so creative in finding ways to hurt themselves so always supervise them when they’re in a crawling session.
If you know you won’t be able to keep an eye on them for a few minutes, pop them back in their crib or even a playpen, so they won’t feel so confined and they can still crawl around.
Remember to put some age-appropriate baby toys in their playpen, to distract them while you do your business for a few minutes.
Your baby might hate the playpen) but at least they’re safe there!
Get a baby monitor
Just to give you peace of mind.
So you can still see where your baby is and what they’re up to without looking from your laptop every minute or so.
But take note to hide its wires) and keep it away from your baby!
FAQ on Baby Crawling on Hardwood Floors
What surface should the baby crawl on?
Your baby can crawl on any type of surface – tiles, carpets, wood, etc. – as long as it’s free of choking hazards and is relatively clean.
Letting them explore and test out various surfaces can help their overall developmental skills, most importantly their gross motor skills.
Doing so can help with their gross motor skills and boost their confidence to try out new things and adapt to different environments.
Should I let my baby crawl on the floor?
Yes, you can let your baby crawl on the floor.
Just as long as it’s clean, there’s no obvious dirt or worse on it and there are no choking hazards, it should be fine.
Final Thoughts: Should I Let My Baby Crawl on the Hardwood Floor
Your baby will only be crawling for a short time, so don’t stress yourself out too much.
No need to overthink about changing the floor interior of your house for your crawling baby.
Just let them crawl on the hardwood floor, let them get hurt a bit and some, see them learn, and eventually they’ll get the hang of it!
But if you’re more comfortable adding a carpet or rug or playmat for more cushion when they fall or maybe getting a proper playpen for them to crawl on, then do what works best for you.