Don't worry about crawling bubs breathing in dirt, bacteria

CRAWLING babies are human vacuum cleaners, breathing in four times more dirt and bacteria from the floor than an adult would walking across the same area.

And while the tots' extreme levels of inhalation sounds alarming, researchers have found that time spent rolling, sliding or crawling along the floor can help protect them from developing asthma and allergies later in life.

It is the first study to measure how much debris is kicked up by babies' unique methods of movement and bursts of activity.

"Infants' bodies are not good at blocking this dust storm," researcher Brandon Boor from Purdue University in the US said.

"For an adult a significant portion of the biological particles are removed in the upper respiratory system in the nostrils and throat. But very young children breathe through their mouths and a significant fraction is deposited in the lower airways. The particles make it to the deepest regions of their lungs," he said.

A healthy baby needs to act like a human dust buster.
A healthy baby needs to act like a human dust buster.

Dirt, bacteria, skin cells, bacteria, pollen and fungal spores were all found in the dust clouds and carpets were the worst surfaces.

Asthma Australia CEO Michele Goldman told The Courier-Mail that further research was needed into how these findings could benefit people with asthma in the broader community.

Stafford babies Abigail Lamont, 8 months, and Annabelle Mengel, 5 months, move around the floor in their own ways.

"Annabelle lies on her tummy and tries to crawl. She spends a lot of time playing on the floor. I don't panic too much as I want her to build up an immunity to germs," mum Jess said.

Bec Lamont said her daughter Abigail was a crawler and as her husband was allergic to dust mites she believed early exposure to dust may help her avoid the same allergies.


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