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Tips for Keeping Children Safe: A Developmental Guide - Mobile Infants

Mobile infants are developing more control of their head, torso, arms, and legs, and are beginning to coordinate those movements. They sleep less and are more active during the day, eager to engage in everything around them. As they learn to stand, crawl, cruise, and walk, they are able to move around more independently and explore their environment. Mobile infants are developing their ability to reach for objects. They may suddenly grab, chew, or try to climb on objects that were once out of their reach. Caregivers inspect each setting children use to make sure there are no indoor or outdoor areas, materials, or equipment that could be unsafe.1

Mobile infants are curious and learn by doing. They use sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell to learn about the objects in their environment. Their brains are developing rapidly as they begin to understand who and what is in their world. They begin to recognize routines, and they are learning that people may leave and return later. As they become aware that objects still exist even when they are hidden, they engage in play to practice this new knowledge. Cabinets, toy chests, and other items that open and close become more intriguing. They watch where you place objects, and they may try to go and get them; so active supervision is an important injury-prevention strategy.

They are able to swallow semisolid food and eventually begin to feed themselves solid food. Choosing and preparing age-appropriate, culturally responsive foods that do not pose a choking hazard results in safe feeding practices.

Mobile infants also vocalize more. They begin to respond to simple requests and one-step directions, such as "time to sit" or "may not." This sets the stage for learning healthy habits and safety rules as children grow.

Mobile infants are eager to practice their new skills and learn from the people, places, and things in their environments. Depending on their temperament, some infants are cautious while others are more likely to take risks. Caregivers create safe environments for mobile infants to explore and know how to individualize for each child.

1Early Head Start National Resource Center. (n.d.). Serving mobile infants. Retrieved from Serving Mobile Infants: Sharing Knowledge with Infant—Toddler Teachers and Home Visitors.

Last Updated: July 16, 2018