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Should my child crawl?

Crawling is an essential step in development. It incorporates vision, core strength, neck, back, shoulder and arm strength to complete the task. It assists children in skills like running, jumping, one-foot balance, writing, fastening clothes and throwing balls. It has also been shown to be an important developmental skill that children skip mainly due to limited time spent placed in tummy time.

As a pediatric physical therapist, I am seeing patients come in with development issues that skipped crawling. The first question I ask when I see a patient with an abnormal gait pattern is if they ever crawled. There is much debate on long-term development delays based on skipping crawling in the medical community. More and more, I am treating children that follow the back to sleep protocol but then hate to be on their tummies. In these situations, parents do not force it, and instead, the children are held or placed in “containers” like bouncers and jumpers.

There is a considerable advantage to placing children on their tummies. Tummy time is the first step to helping them gain the strength they need. From my experience, children that skip crawling are more likely to have abnormal running patterns, lack balance, and coordination, have weak core strength and upper extremity strength. They enter into physical therapy due to tripping, falling, “w” sitting, hamstring tightness, abnormal running patterns and unable to keep up with kids their age.

If you are concerned about your child's development, contact us today.

Content provided by Dr. Jessica Edwards-Perrin, PT, DPT