When babies crawl, their movement across floors, especially carpeted surfaces, kicks up high levels of dirt, skin cells, bacteria, pollen, and fungal spores, a new study has found. The infants inhale a dose of bio bits in their lungs that is four times (per kilogram of body mass) what an adult would breathe walking across the same floor.
As alarming as that sounds, lead researcher Brandon Boor of Purdue University is quick to add that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“We are interested in the biological material an infant inhales, especially during their first year of life when they are crawling. Many studies have shown that inhalation exposure to microbes and allergen-carrying particles in that portion of life plays a significant role in both the development of, and protection from, asthma and allergic diseases,” Boor says. “There are studies that have shown that being exposed to a high diversity and concentration of biological materials may reduce the prevalence of asthma and allergies later in life.”