Monday, February 8, 2010

How to Build an Infant Crawling Track

The last few weeks before H's birth, we were overwhelmed with the important things that we had not finished. A little over a week before she was born, we knew we would fail as parents if we didn't get the baby crawling track built before her arrival. Here is how we built ours. In our home, it is known as the "baby race track."

Supplies (all except the vinyl purchased at Home Depot):
- (1) 1" x 16" x 8' pine
- (2) 1" x 6" x 8' pine
- double sided carpet tape
- carpet foam
- vinyl

- Scissors
- Stapler
- Utility knife
- Drill
- Screw driver

1. Apply double-sided carpet tape to the edges of the 1" x 16" x 8'

2. Remove back-side of tape

3. Attach the carpet foam to the 1" x 16" x 8' by laying the carpet foam on the side of the 1" x 16" x 8" with the double-sided carpet tape exposed

4. Trim the excess foam by running a utility knife through it using the wood as a guide.

5. Lay the 1" x 16" x 8' - carpet pad assembly on the vinyl. The carpet pad should be in between the 1" x 16" x 8' and the vinyl.

6. Trim the vinyl to size, leaving enough to fold the vinyl over the sides and ends of the 1" x 16" x 8'

7. Fold the vinyl over the sides and ends of the 1" x 16" x 8' and staple it down using a staple gun.

8. Attach a sheet of vinyl to each of the 1" x 6" x 8's.

9. Set the 1" x 16" x 8' on the 1" x 6" x 8's. We achieved this by setting the 1" x 16" x 8' on a stack of yoga blocks and journals (they are not visible in the photo since they are under the 1" x 16" x 8')

10. Near one of the ends, use a clamp to provide a tight fit.

11. Install L-shaped brackets on both sides every 18 inches and reinforce intermittently with woodscrews. We started on one end of the crawling track, used the clamp to tighten the system, installed the L-shaped brackets, reinforced with woodscrews and then moved the clamp down 18 inches and repeated.

12. Apply the carpet pad to each of the 1" x 6" x 8's by applying the double-sided carpet tape to the 1" x 6" x 8's, attaching the carpet pad, securing the carpet pad with the staple gun, and cutting the carpet pad to size using the utility knife.

13. Wrap the vinyl around the 1" x 6" x 8' - carpet pad assembly.

14. Secure the vinyl with the staple gun.

Et voilĂ  - a crawling track.

In hindsight, I would have done a few things differently. First, I would have used something lighter. The 1" pine results in a pretty heavy crawling track. Second, I would have used something a bit stronger to tack down the carpet pad. It currently bulges up slightly in the center of the track. Finally, I wish we would have used something other than vinyl - something more natural. We may actually recover it if we find a more natural material that is smooth (let us know if you have any ideas).


  1. First, I'm chuckling about this notion of "have to get it done" before the babe arrives. I was dying wool at 38 weeks... had to get it done so I would have wool covers lined up for the next 6 months! I also think it is funny that Shannon got dragged into this mindset. Justin helped when I made it clear my version of support required, but mostly he just shook his head.

    I've actually never heard of an infant crawling track - which is interesting because I'm very aware of Doman. But, in fairness, I've seen Doman taken to an extreme within our extended family with two extreme learning disabilities (drowning accident and near blindness... it is a long story which I'd be happy to take offline) and thus kind of stay away from it. Still, Doman was somewhat instrumental in how I was raised.

    Anyhow, I think it is a good idea, if at least for naps (I couldn't do night because I'm a firm co-sleeper). I'd be pretty uncomfortable about setting my child down asleep on tummy on vinyl. If it were me, I would probably line the track with PUL (Poly urethane laminate that is used in diaper covers... easy to wipe down if there is an accident, contact me if you need a source - I have a couple of online co-ops that I might be able to use to source it) and then fashion some sort of removable wool cover (thinking like the changing table pads with elastic around the edge) out of a used wool blanket at a thrift store. If you felted the wool (wash, dry, wash, dry, then wash for several times in a wool wash, dry), it would probably keep the track germ and stink free for several weeks at at time. You'd only have to remove for big sickness and then you could just wipe down the PUL. (See, it has been 2.5 years and I'm still obsessed with wool in kid applications.)

  2. Hey Nicole -
    Thanks so much for the ideas on the racetrack - we have been stressing a little about the vinyl. But, she just gets it for tummy time, not sleeping (we didn't go whole hog with the sleeping track). I'm definitely interested in a source for the PUL. Unfortunately, wool won't work here, as it is supposed to be smooth for easy locomotion. (but it would take away the major drawback now, which is the track is pretty cold.)

    I didn't know you were a Doman baby - my mom used teach your baby to read, and that's really where this got started.

    We still haven't started with the reusable diapers - but I think it's time soon.


  3. Do you remember how many yards of vinyl did you buy? Or exact measurements? That would help me a lot.
    Thank you very much.