Child Development: Is It Okay That My Baby Walks But Never Crawls?

Dear Dr. Heather, Our 8 month old son seems to be skipping the crawling phase altogether and learning to cruise and walk straightaway. Today someone told me that this means he’ll have learning disabilities later; is this true?Baby walking but never crawling, any learning disability worry?

Thanks!

A Concerned Dad

Dear "Concerned",

That's an old wives tale, but one that many people still believe. Here's the deal: if he's not working on locomotion -- in some form or another -- at this age, it could be reflective of some underlying issue. But ANY of the goofy forms of locomotion exhibited by babies at this age counts as "normal locomotion" -- the "Commando Crawl", the "Tushie-Scoot", the "One-Kneed Creep", and of course regular cruising and walking. Apparently the Back-To-Sleep campaign has resulted in an increase in babies who skip crawling, as they don't get as much practice on their tummies. But getting mobile is the important thing.

Look at it this way: crawling is a drag. Walking is a lot more fun --and a lot less gross -- for parents (Think: less opportunity to find and eat yucky stuff off the floor!). Plus you'll save tons on Spray 'n Wash since his knees won't be dragging through the dirt all the time. And for you parents of girls -- rejoice! You can finally bust out the pretty dresses! (There's nothing more frustrating to a crawling baby than having a dress get caught up underneath her over and over!)

We look for some form of mobility -- attempts to crawl, scoot or walk -- by about 10 months, but this isn't a hard and fast rule. Your pediatrician can do a quick review of your baby's developmental progress if you're worried.

Enjoy -- and double-check your baby-proofing. This phase begins the wild time of The Mobile Baby With No Self-Protection Mechanisms! You'll be running around after him very closely for the next year or so!

Aloha, Dr. Heather The BabyShrink Mom of Four, Parenting Expert

New Info on the Autism/Vaccine Issue

In an interesting development in the ongoing saga of the alleged link between vaccines and autism, the medical journal The Lancet is retracting the original study that proposed the idea that the MMR vaccine could cause the disorder. If you've been a BabyShrink reader for awhile, you know my stand on vaccines: They've saved millions of lives. It's just like any medical advance: There's a cost-benefit ratio to consider. And when you're talking about saving the number of lives that vaccines have saved, SIGN ME UP.

In terms of the supposed autism/vaccine link, I've always been skeptical. I want to know more about possible environmental and genetic causes, but I believe the reams of research done that show NO CAUSATION by vaccines. And I'm still wondering about the issue of autism recognition, diagnosis, and the increase of cases: Clinically, I see a lot of pressure to diagnose autism, and much greater willingness to give the diagnosis. If you're interested in more, here are a couple of links:

Here's a link to my other posts on autism and vaccines.

Here's a link to the CNN article on the retraction of the MMR/autism article by The Lancet.

Aloha, Dr. Heather The BabyShrink