There are several ways you’re endangering your baby if you allow him or her to crawl around on the floor of a public building, whether it’s Home Depot or the floor of a medical office.

Recently I saw a baby allowed to spend a lot of time crawling on the floor at Home Depot. I couldn’t believe it.

And what do all babies eventually do? Put their fingers in their mouth. Some might say this is good, to build up the baby’s immune system.

And if that’s true, what about the aspect of crawling on a sharp or hard object which a store – especially one like Home Depot — might easily have on the floor?

• Screws, nails
• Glass fragments
• Wood chips, splinters

Never Mind Building up the Immune System

Want your baby to develop a strong immune system? Ask your pediatrician what the most effective ways of doing this is.

You’ll surely hear, among other ways, “proper nutrition and plenty of activity.” What you won’t hear, however, is, “Let her crawl all over the floor of a public building.”

“Crawling on a floor in a store that is heavily trafficked puts the baby at risk of injury,” says Dr. Lisa Lewis, MD, a board certified pediatrician in Fort Worth, Texas, and author of “Feed the Baby Hummus, Pediatrician-Backed Secrets from Cultures Around the World.”

“There are multiple items on bottom shelves that could cause injury to the child,” continues Dr. Lewis.

“And of course, who knows what has been dropped on the floor? Choking hazards would be first on the list, but people have been walking all over the store with shoes that have been in multiple locations.”

A baby crawling on the floor of a store or other public place could easily come across a wad of gum that came off of someone’s shoe.

Now what do you think the baby will do? What DO babies often do with a small object they find on the floor?

• Ignore it
• Pick it up, stare at it and then set it down.
• Pick it up, stare at it and put it in their mouth. Or up their nose. Yes, this happens more than you think.

“Many shoppers aren’t looking at the floor,” points out Dr. Lewis. The mother at Home Depot who was letting her one-year-old crawl around on the visibly dirty floor was very busy examining merchandise.

The baby had free range, which included playing with an older sibling.

The mother was absorbed in the merchandise while the baby was allowed to stray more distance from her than he should have been permitted.

Babies need playtime and activity, but they should also be trained to know that there are certain places where crawling around is forbidden. And the floors of public buildings are one of them.

Dr. Lewis also adds, “If the parent turns away the child could be hit by a cart.” This is a very possible scenario.

Suppose someone is pushing a cart at a rather quick pace, while texting.

If texting while driving can result in vehicular accidents, it’s certainly no stretch of the imagination to assume that texting while pushing a shopping cart could result in a collision with a crawling baby!

Imagine your baby is crawling down an aisle, towards an intersecting aisle.

Now…perpendicular to the baby’s path, an adult is pushing a cart, heading straight towards the baby’s projected crawling path.

But the shopper isn’t anticipating a baby on the floor. Perhaps the shopper is reading the signs overhead of each aisle, or is reading a text, or is just glancing anywhere but where the baby is about to appear at the intersection.

A collision is bound to occur. Whose fault will this be? Think about it.

“But My Baby Hates Sitting in a Shopping Cart!”

At stores, babies belong in carts or in the arms (if possible) of a responsible adult or teenager.

If a baby cries when being put in a cart, then provide a distraction such as a toy, favorite blanket or stuffed animal.

Yes, bring items with you for this very purpose.

When placing your baby in a cart, never do so with anger, as this will make the child associate sitting in a cart with punishment.

Having 25+ years’ experience, Dr. Lewis completed her pediatrics residency at Texas A&M University Health Science Center, Scott and White Memorial Hospital. For two years afterward she was assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at Texas A&M University Health Science Center.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.