Sometime between the ages of 7 and 10 months old, your little bundle of burgeoning curiosity is going to start clumsily but patiently exploring their surroundings. While it isn't quite time to start worrying about tablecloths, bookshelves and drawers, it won't be long before your baby begins crawling with confidence.
When that happens, your carpets and floors will become their playground.
Crawling Babies Stir Up Dust Clouds
If your carpet has seen better days, you may be concerned about the effects it might have on your child's health. You are far from alone in this regard. In fact, a study published in the Environmental Science & Technology journal found that a crawling baby can stir up a cloud of debris much larger than is normally found in a room.
Even more worryingly, during a baby's crawl across a carpet, they breathe in 4 times more biological particles, such as fungal spores and bacterial cells, than a walking adult. Surprisingly, scientists unanimously agree that such exposure to allergens actually strengthens babies' developing immune systems. However, carpets may also harbour various other harmful things.
Dirty Carpets Contain Toxins and Toxicants
You may think that your carpets are fairly clean if you enforce a strict no-shoe policy. Unfortunately, that is unlikely—unless your home's occupants never go outside and you have eliminated every single harmful chemical or toxin known to man from your home. You can cut down on toxins (natural compounds) and toxicants (manmade compounds), but you can't completely eliminate them—they are in everything.
For instance, when a person spends their day outside and returns home later, they bring home with them pollutants and chemicals they came into contact with that day. Traces of pesticides and herbicides used to kill weeds and pests are everywhere, as are toxins from smokers, such as cyanide, lead and arsenic. Then there are the germs picked up from brushing against and touching surfaces.
Much of this deadly mix ends up drifting onto your carpets.
Have Your Carpets Professionally Cleaned
Before you let your baby crawl over a carpet that hasn't been cleaned in months or years, have that carpet professionally cleaned. Only a professional carpet cleaning service can give a pollutant filled carpet the thorough cleaning it deserves. Professional carpet services don't just remove stains; they remove allergens and other harmful contaminants.
Once the carpet is spotless, let it air out for a day or two, and then set your bundle of worldly curiosity free on it. Remember though, vacuum daily and be mindful of the harmful substances that can come home on the clothes and shoes of family members and visitors.