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What's the best surface for my daughter to learn crawling ? We usually put her on our sofa, but we are afraid it is too small and too soft. Also, the risk of falling is too high, now that she's becoming mobile.

We also tried the floor (wood flooring) but we are afraid it is too slippery and she could bang her head on it.

Would a carpet do the trick ?

  • +1. Interesting question. On the same lines - what makes a good crawling area..? Possibly factors like traction, lack of obstacles that could topple over, clean area, area completely within the guardians field of vision, ... – Kent Pawar Nov 8 '14 at 0:16
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    Are you first time parents by any chance? :) – superluminary Nov 8 '14 at 9:16
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    @superluminary : Yes ! That's why we may worry too much – l0r3nz4cc10 Nov 14 '14 at 14:30
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    @l0r3nz4cc10 - I wouldn't sweat it too much. Babies are designed to take the odd knock without being damaged, or apparently noticing. Also, do you want to raise a brave and confident child? My advice would be to provide sensible boundaries, so they can feel confident you are caring for them, and not worry too much about the small stuff. – superluminary Nov 14 '14 at 14:44
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Regardless of the surface, there will be falls and bumps as she learns to crawl (and, later, walk). Keeping her at floor level is a good plan, though.

There are two things I'd suggest looking for: reasonable traction and moderate padding.

The traction is more important for learning how crawling works than for potential slips causing injuries. If her legs and knees keep sliding out from under her, she'll never figure out crawling because she can't even get herself up on all fours. (A hardwood or tile floor is only going to be slippery if she's wearing pants/tights, which would prevent her from getting good traction with her knees and legs. However, her hands are what is really providing support for her upper body and head; those are unlikely to slip much on a hard surface, so there is little head-bump risk.)

The padding prevents her from having very hard bumps on the head (although I would not worry much about bumps -- it's not from a great height). Carpet provides good traction and also a moderately padded surface. If you live somewhere with only hard flooring, a blanket spread on the floor can provide padding.

Ironically, I think my daughter ended up falling face-first more often on a particular carpet in her grandma's house because it had a lot of static cling with her pants, which threw off her movement :)

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We didn't have any trouble with crawling on a hardwood floor, but we did provide a small rug (an Ikea-type children's playmat) for the winter months when the floor was colder. Carpet has its own downsides - it's slower, for one, which while for you might be nice, for the kid will be irritating. Hardwood has an additional advantage: it's noisy, so you know where she is. Carpet can be eerily quiet, and you might sometimes lose her for a minute (which can be very unnerving, if generally harmless).

One thing to avoid is socks without traction on hardwood floors. Especially in the 8 to 15 month range when the child could begin standing up, socks without traction bumps are extremely difficult to manage.

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Carpet is good for crawling. If you don't want to lay a full carpet you could get a rug. We found a rug better than a blanket as the blanket can bunch up under the baby as she moves. A rug should be big enough for the learning stage. Once the baby gets more confident, she will be able to crawl anywhere, including the wooden floor. I wouldn't encourage her to crawl on a raised surface, babies can easily surprise you by suddenly doing things you don't think they are capable of. Carpet has the added benefit of being a bit warmer but the baby might not care about that. Once they get going, it's hard to stop them going wherever they feel like.

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We have a laminated wood floor (rather slippery for floor-to-cloth contact), but we had some clothes with non-slip rubbery patches on knees that were helpful. Similarly, for starting to walk, some baby tights/socks have those rubbery "dots" on their soles which prevent that slipping.

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