Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

October 25, 2016

Physical Therapy Focus: The Importance of Crawling by Katie Eggleston DPT


October is National Physical Therapy Month and we are celebrating with the APTA #choosePT

Each physical therapist on our staff of 6 will share a bit of expertise, including Katie Eggleston DPT!

Katie enjoys evaluating and treating infants and toddlers.  Parents, and even doctors, are sometimes glad to report that a child skipped crawling and is trying to walk earlier than expected. The truth is that crawling first is strongly preferred, since it provides important input to the entire body with long lasting benefits. 

Crawling works on coordinating the two sides of the body also called bilateral coordination.

  • When a baby crawls, it is the first time they are required to coordinate the two sides of their body to move in a different way.  Crawling activates both hemispheres of the brain in a balanced and reciprocal way.  It is important for a baby to learn bilateral coordination at this time, to use the skill in future motor tasks, such as walking, running and stair climbing.
  • The first time that a baby is able to independently move in a forward direction is during crawling.  The eyes must scan the environment and in order to do so, the baby must look across the midline of their body.  This helps to develop hand-eye coordination.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children typically begin to crawl between 6-9 months of age.  Physical therapists emphasize the importance of crawling before walking to allow opportunities to develop bilateral coordination. A physical therapist can provide guidance to families with both typically and atypically developing children to ensure developmental milestones are met.   

Learn more about our physical therapists on our website and our blog.