The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted a study of more than 50,000 healthy children worldwide and found that hands-and-knees crawling began as early as 5 months and as late as 14 months of age. Most children in the study were crawling by 8 months.
U.S. children typically master crawling between 7 and 10 months of age, but the form of crawling can vary (hand-and-knees, army crawl, scooching) and some perfectly normal babies never crawl. Instead, they go from sitting to walking.
In order to crawl, babies must first be comfortable lying on their abdomens. They must also have strong back, arm, and leg muscles. Once your baby is able to lift her body up, she will likely spend time rocking back and forth on her hands and knees. Stronger arm muscles than leg muscles might cause her to propel herself backward before being able to move forward. Eventually, she will learn to dig in her knees and move forward.
You can encourage your child to crawl by getting down on the floor on your hands and knees and showing her how it’s done! It sometimes helps to position a favorite toy just out of reach, giving her something to crawl toward.
Children who never crawl still manage to navigate their surroundings. They simply use alternative methods, such as scooting around on their bottoms. As long as your baby is coordinating her arms, legs, and body, there is likely no reason for concern.
Before your baby learns to crawl, take some time to babyproof your house. (Pro tip: Get down on your hands-and-knees to see things from your baby's-eye view.) Once she’s mobile, you can sit back and enjoy watching her explore her surroundings.