At what age do infants begin to crawl, and what approaches can be used to teach them? Our article explains the various crawling techniques and developmental milestones.
What Age Do Babies Crawl?
The American Academy of Pediatrics states that babies usually start crawling between 8 to 12 months old, but each infant develops at their own speed, so some may crawl earlier or later. In addition, children with developmental delays may commence crawling later. If your child has turned one and has not begun crawling, or if you have concerns about their crawling progress, always consult with your pediatrician.
What Milestones Come Before Crawling?
Baby development is a continuous process, and although the age at which babies begin crawling may vary, they will typically attain the same developmental milestones in the same order.
Below are the gross motor skills baby milestones during their first year:
- Lifting the head during tummy time (around 3 months old)
- Rolling from tummy to back and vice versa (about 4 months old)
- Sitting up (about 6 months old)
- Scooting (not all babies will do this)
- Crawling (around 8-9 months old)
- Standing (around 9-10 months old)
- Walking (around one to one and a half years old)
Baby Crawling Styles
Just as each baby is unique, there are also various types of crawling styles.
Here are the different crawling techniques:
- Bear Crawl: The baby moves on all fours with extended limbs, using their hands and feet.
- Classic Crawl: This is the typical crawling style that most people imagine, with the baby moving on their hands and knees.
- Commando Crawl (also known as belly crawl): The baby pulls themselves forward along the ground using their belly in a style called commando crawling, which may begin at an earlier developmental stage.
- Crab Crawl: This crawling style is distinct, with one leg bent and the other straight, pushing the baby sideways, and it can appear quite unusual.
- Scoot: Scooting is a different approach to crawling, where infants use their hands to move forward while in a seated position. Once they learn to scoot on their bottom, they have accomplished the goal of mobility from one place to another. Consequently, they may delay crawling until later or even bypass it completely and begin walking directly.
How to Encourage My Baby to Crawl
The physical development of babies is a natural progression, and there is no need to hurry them along.
However, you can create opportunities for your child to practice skills that aid in their movement. For example, including supervised tummy time as part of your daily routine from an early age strengthens your baby’s core muscles, which can help prepare them for future motor skills.
Here’s a fun tip: If you’re finding it challenging to exercise because you’re occupied with caring for your baby, try incorporating push-ups into your infant’s tummy time routine!
As soon as your baby begins to show an interest in reaching for things, try placing a beloved toy slightly out of their grasp. This will encourage them to stretch their body forward. As your baby becomes able to reach the toy, gradually move it further away.
Eventually, your baby will be able to crawl a short distance before plopping down. To keep them motivated, you can use a rolling drum toy that moves or move the toy yourself.
Safety Precautions for Crawlers
After your baby begins crawling, it’s crucial to child-proof your living space and ensure that your little one is supervised. Since crawlers tend to put everything in their mouths, it’s only a matter of time before they start pulling up on the coffee table’s edge and trying to grab everything within reach.
To prevent accidents and ensure your baby’s safety, securing all large furniture to the wall is important. Bookcases or cabinets are examples of items that babies may try to climb or hold onto, and if these items tip over, it can result in serious injury or even death.
It is essential to install safety gates at both the top and bottom of staircases, even if there are doors present. This is because babies are clever and may find a way to climb stairs from the bottom, which puts them at risk of falling.
It’s crucial to ensure that a responsible adult actively supervises your baby when they are near water bodies. Drowning can happen within seconds, and it may not be immediately apparent when it occurs. In addition, even small amounts of water, such as those in a bucket, can pose a drowning risk.
Crawling is a developmental milestone that typically begins between 8 to 12 months of age, but each baby may learn to crawl at their own pace, with some starting earlier or later. Occasionally, babies who scoot on their bottom may not crawl at all. If you have any doubts or concerns about your baby’s crawling progress, it’s best to consult your pediatrician.