Our Success By 6 Pediatrician, Dr. Mary Kay Wagner, says child proofing the house is a priority with a six month old baby.
Q: What baby proofing precautions are needed before your baby is mobile?
Do a home safety check. Purchase gates for stairs, barriers around space heaters, fireplaces, wood stove. Remove all chemicals and cleaning products to a cabinet that baby can not reach or climb into. Get rid of any button batteries - just throw them away - babies that swallow these can become very ill. Cover electrical outlets. Any cords should be secured so the baby can not become entangled. Secure any objects that a child may pull down on himself (bookcases, TV etc). Keep baby in high chair/playpen when in the kitchen. Set home water temperature to less than 120 degrees F. Keep small objects, plastic bags, away from baby. If there is anything that you do not want your child getting into (i.e. breakable objects, collectables, etc) it might be best to just put them away someplace safe for awhile. Toys must be sturdy and have no small parts that could be swallowed or inhaled. Baby walkers should never be used at any age. To avoid possible injury, it is never too early to secure safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs and install window guards. If living with older individuals (ie grandparents) make sure any medications are out of reach. Point to Remember: It is the babies job to explore their world, by touch, orally, and visually.....this is normal.......and it's our job to keep them safe.
Q: What are the essential pieces of baby proofing equipment needed to keep your mobile baby safe?
A: Playpen, high chair, electrical covers, latches for cabinets, gates for stairs, window guards.
Q: What kind of toys or games appeal to six month olds?
A: Engage in interactive reciprocal play. Talk/sing to, read/play games with baby. Lots of "floor time" is beneficial to strengthen muscles and coordination. At 6 months babies begin to get on their knees and begin to scoot backwards and then forwards. At 6 months, babies can sit with support and smile or babble with a loving adult. He may have a block or toy in his hand. As he watches his hands, he can reach for objects, such as cubes and grasp them. He can transfer objects. He also may mouth, shake, bang and drop toys or objects. He can stand with help and enjoys bouncing up and down in the standing position. Age appropriate books such as "touch and feel" and other soft plastic or hardcover books that can't be damaged by the infants ripping and chewing are advised. There are many inexpensive books available at thrift stores or the library sales of used books. Infants learn about their environment through visual exploration, mouthing toys, and, eventually, imitation. To help develop communication skills, look at books and pat pictures, play music and sing, imitate vocalizations, read to your baby, play games such as "pat-a-cake," "peek-a-boo" and "so big".
Q: Why is it not a good idea to let your baby watch TV?
A:"Secondhand" TV (a term for when the TV is on though no one is watching) can harm development for babies under two. There is research that shows that a child who is playing with toys while the TV is on in the same room will look up at the screen every 20 seconds. Studies also show that parents speak less when there is background television noise. The problems with this, is that the less "parent talk time" a child has, the poorer their language development is. There are a massive amount of learning DVDs meant for babies under two that AREN'T BENEFICIAL TO LITTLE BRAINS at all. So TURN THE TV, computer, ipad or cellular device OFF!