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Is Crawling Really That Important?

You may have heard a friend or family member say their child skipped crawling. Or perhaps a medical professional told you that some children skip crawling and go right to walking. This does happen sometimes and while it shouldn't be a reason to panic, it should be a reason to ask "why?".

In my personal experience as a pediatric physical therapist I have found that most of the time when a child skips crawling or uses an alternative crawling pattern other than hands-and-knees, there is an underlying reason. Even a very subtle underlying "why" may result in an atypical crawling pattern or skipping crawling. Some reasons include (but aren't limited to):

- Hypertonia (high muscle tone)

- Hypotonia (low muscle tone)

- History of torticollis

- Frequent device use (especially standing devices and jumpers)

- Muscle tightness

- Muscle weakness

- Visual or visual-motor issues

- Vestibular issues

- Sensory processing issues

- History of prematurity

- Neuromuscular diagnosis

The benefits of crawling far outweigh skipping it. While it may seem as though crawling is merely a means of mobility before walking, it is SO much more than that! Here are some of the great benefits of crawling:

- Sensory input and improved body awareness

- Strengthens the shoulders, wrists, hands, core, and hips

- Strengthens the connection between the right and left sides of the brain (important for coordination, language development, learning, and focus)

Examples of skills positively impacted by crawling on hands-and-knees:

- Standing and walking

- Running

- Skipping

- Bike riding

- Hand-writing

- Reading

- Focus and attention

- Ball skills

The great news is that it's never too late to help your child learn to crawl on hands-and-knees! If you have questions or concerns, I suggest speaking with your child's pediatrician and having your child evaluated by a pediatric physical therapist in your area, scheduling a Developmental Wellness session (I offer virtual sessions so we can work together no matter the distance!), or joining my virtual Crawling Series!

Always remember, you don't have to go it alone!

xo, Dr. Brittany

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