While nothing takes the place of a parent's watchful eye, these seven basic tips will ensure that you and your home are ready for when your baby starts crawling.

  1. Get down to your baby's level – literally. Crawling around your house helps you see exactly which items are within his reach. For example, crawling under your desk may remind you of the rarely used outlet that's beneath it that needs to be covered.

  2. Block off the stairs. If you have stairs in the house, you'll need to place safety gates both at the top and the bottom of the stairs. If you're using pressure gates, a baby weighing enough could potentially dislodge them. Wall-mounted gates are a safer choice.

  3. Cut the cords. Make sure that anything with a cord is out of reach, including baby monitors and phones. It's also a smart idea to invest in cordless blinds and window treatments.

  4. Secure large, heavy items. Once your baby's crawling, she's going to try to pull herself up on objects. Make sure that things like TVs and bookcases are mounted to the wall or floor.

  5. Lock up any potential hazards. The garage, basement, bathroom, exercise room and home office are all rooms where the contents can pose a danger to your baby. Any cabinet containing cleaning supplies, paints, heavy tools, weights, small pieces or chemicals of any kind should be locked and placed out of reach.

  6. Baby-proof all edges and outlets. All sharp edges on furniture should be cushioned, and all electrical sockets need to be protected with outlet covers.

  7. Teach safe walking. When your baby is ready to start walking, practice going up and down the stairs, showing him that he should always hold the railing. Remove any small rugs that could potentially cause him to slip and fall.