If you’re reading this, congrats! You’ve reached the first stage of impending toddlerhood. It’s an exciting and anxiety-inducing time (as is all of parenthood, for that matter) when your baby starts walking. The good news is that most of our editors have been through this stage before, so we know exactly how stressful it can be to keep those babies safe as they learn this new skill. I’m sure there have already been countless close calls where someone’s had to perform a Superman launch across the room to save a wobbly little from taking a nosedive.
Unfortunately, it’ll probably take quite a few more skinned knees and busted lips before your baby masters walking. And as much as us moms would love to control the situation, this is a scenario where you quite literally have to let go of those tiny hands and let them learn at their own pace. I’m sure that thought alone has many of you wincing, but I promise they (and you) will be OK—especially if you’re equipped with the right products for this new adventure.
We’ve rounded up the top five items you’ll need for your first-time walker.
1. Prep for the dreaded scrapes and bruises.
OK, let’s address the scariest bit first: the accidents. As I’ve already mentioned, there’s really nothing we can do about those occasional busted lips except to be ready for them. There are so many products out there for treating cuts, but not many of them are ideal for delicate baby skin. That’s why we’ve been loving Active Skin Repair’s Baby Spray, which is the closest thing to magic in a spray bottle.
This fast-acting, medical-grade spray is non-toxic and gentle enough to use on sensitive areas, including around the eyes, ears, and mouth. It helps support the body’s natural healing process while simultaneously eliminating germs. And the best part is there’s no sting when applied on open wounds, so your already emotional baby won’t have another thing to cry about after their fall. Instead of using a dozen different medical products on one scrape, Active Skin Repair’s formula takes care of everything all at once. Click to shop this holy grail product and use code EVERYGIRL for 20 percent off your purchase!
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2. Provide them with opportunities to practice.
You know what they say: Practice makes… a somewhat less wobbly baby. It’ll take your baby weeks or even months to really get the hang of walking, so encourage practice by letting them cruise along the edges of your couch or a play pen. The more floor time they have, the better. And even though push walker toys don’t necessarily help your littles walk any sooner, they can be a fun toy for babies who are ready to stand.
To be clear, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) doesn’t recommend sit-in walkers (the ones where babies sit inside with multiple wheels on the bottom). We suggest only using push walkers so your little one can stand and push while being closely supervised by an adult. And remember, they still need plenty of practice without push walkers in order to work on independent walking skills as well.
3. Bubble wrap your home.
When my first child was learning to walk, we immediately purchased edge protectors for every menacing corner in our home. They worked most of the time and saved us from a few close calls around the fireplace and window ledges. No, they’re not very aesthetically pleasing, but they do offer some peace of mind during those first couple years with a clumsy baby/toddler.
4. Block off “yes” zones and “no” zones.
Baby gates are essential for keeping our littles safe once they’re mobile. It’s a given that our curious little cuties are going to want to use their newfound freedom to wander into forbidden territory. Create “yes” zones where they can explore and play to their hearts content and use gates to eliminate access to “no” zones like stairs or your chemical-filled laundry room.
We've been using Regalo baby gates for years, and they've held up remarkably well even with a very strong toddler who constantly pulls on them. Plus, the black color blends into our home much better and looks sleeker than other baby gates out there.
5. Baby-proof, baby-proof, baby-proof.
In the same vein, baby-proofing is also super important when babies start walking. We slowly started baby-proofing the main rooms of our home like the kitchen and living room when our son started crawling. By the time he started walking, most of the dangerous spots were inaccessible to his little hands. There are tons of baby-proofing products available, so we’ve narrowed them down to outlet and doorknob covers and cabinet locks.
Not all doorknob covers are created equal—I say this as a mom who's been stuck one too many times in a room with a doorknob cover that's ridiculously difficult to open. This one has great grip and won't leave you stranded and forced to call your partner in the middle of a work day to come get you out (true story).
This post was in partnership with Active Skin Repair, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.