Workshop Baby-safe zone


  • To provide a physically safe environment at home and in the community.
  • To promote safe, secure attachments.
  • To prevent child abuse and neglect.

Background information

Before a child is mobile, their whānau has ultimate control over their environment, experiences and interactions. But once they begin to move independently, pēpi will want to make the decisions about where they go and what they touch.

Motor development can progress quite quickly, but remember that babies become mobile at different ages. Some crawl as early as 3–4 months, while others are not keen to move about independently until they’re a year old.

Mobility includes many different stages and methods. It usually starts with rolling from tummy to back and back to tummy. After that it may include the following stages (usually in approximately this order):

  • bottom shuffling, crab (sideways) crawling, commando crawling, crawling using hands and feet (creeping) or on hands and knees
  • kneeling before pulling themselves into a standing position against furniture, cruising along furniture, walking across gaps between furniture
  • walking independently without holding on or needing any support
  • climbing begins — just low objects to begin with, then up onto couches, chairs, steps and so on.

Their increased strength, agility and curiosity will see them venturing further and getting into things previously out of their reach. Often those things aren’t safe for them.

As baby develops each new skill, the ‘baby-safe zone’ has to be adjusted accordingly.


As a group or in pairs, discuss how far baby can reach when:

  • lying down
  • crawling
  • kneeling
  • standing
  • cruising
  • climbing
  • you’re holding them (on the couch or at the table).


  • How might you prepare your home for a mobile baby?
  • What limits and boundaries (whānau rules) do you want your baby to learn about?
  • What will you do with your precious things once baby gets moving?
  • What will baby be allowed to touch other than toys?
  • What will help you stay consistent with those limits for keeping baby safe? (Especially when baby is not happy about them.)
  • What if other adults in your baby’s life have different ideas?

Activity — What does this mean for you and your baby?

Ask participants to look at Plunket’s Thriving under five, the Well Child/Tamariki Ora My health book, or the Parenting Resource development summary for the appropriate ages for the participants’ children. Ask the participants:

  • What is baby doing now, especially in their motor development?
  • What has changed recently?
  • How have you responded to that?


  • SKIP Whakatipu booklets ‘Ngā tohu whānau’ sections
  • Plunket: Thriving under five
  • Well Child/Tamariki Ora My health book

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