Baby Development: Your 8-Month-Old
Your Baby’s Cognitive Skills
By entering the realm of language and symbolic thought, object permanence
takes a leap ahead. No longer solely at the mercy of the senses (“If I
can’t see or touch it, it doesn’t exist”), your baby has the beginnings of this
concept: “Things continue to exist even if I can’t directly sense them.”
So now she will continue to look for an object that is completely
hidden. After all, it must be somewhere.
Time to Get Serious About Baby-Proofing
All of these developmental leaps make for an exciting, if somewhat
hair-raising time. But as your little one gets more mobile and more
curious and more able to corral small objects, new safety issues emerge.
As a start, pretend you’re your infant and crawl all around your house
looking for danger (“What’s that under the couch?” “How did that little
toy -- so easy to aspirate -- get under the bed?” “What happened to the plug on
that electrical outlet?”) and remove all risks:
- With increased mobility often comes the need to put gates on thoroughfares
so they can’t tumble down the stairs.
- Put latches on all kitchen cabinets, especially those with toxic cleaning
and other bottles. But leave one or two open, filled with pots and pans
and wooden spoons that your child can happily and safely play with in
explorations of planet kitchen.
- Have the number of Poison Control by your phone.
- Watch for choking hazards.
- Keep all medications safely stored.
- Be sure your water temperature is <120 so no scalding accidents can
- Rear facing car seats at all times are a must.
I don’t mean to make you paranoid (actually, I suppose I do), but the No. 1
priority of parenting is to help your child make it through childhood
intact, and of all the risks for your baby’s well-being, unintentional injuries
by far leads the list. Now, by virtue of the wonderful developmental
milestones soon to come, many of those risks will be greatly increased.
Don’t be caught napping.