What Is Considered Late Walking in Babies: Guide for Parents

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What Is Considered Late Walking in Babies: A Guide for Parents

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Walking is a significant developmental milestone in a baby’s life, and parents often eagerly anticipate the moment when their child takes their first steps.

Not all babies start walking at the same age, and some may take longer than others to reach this milestone. Late walking in babies is a common concern for many parents, and it can be caused by a variety of factors.

So, what is considered late walking in babies? According to developmental milestones, most babies start walking between the ages of 9 and 15 months.

However, it’s important to note that every child is unique and may develop at their own pace. Some babies may start walking earlier than 9 months, while others may not start until after 15 months. Therefore, it’s crucial to look at other factors besides age when determining if a baby is walking late.

Delayed walking in babies can be caused by various factors, including neurological disorders, muscular issues, vitamin deficiencies, and other medical conditions. In many cases, late walking is not a cause for concern, and babies will eventually start walking on their own.

However, it’s essential to keep an eye on your child’s development and speak to a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about your baby’s motor skills.

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What is Considered Late Walking?

Walking is a significant milestone in a baby’s development. Most babies start walking between 11 and 16 months, but some may take longer to walk independently. Delayed walking is defined as not walking independently by 18 months of age.

Definition of Late Walking

Delayed walking is not always a cause for concern, so don’t compare your child to other babies, especially if one is an early walker. However, if a baby is not walking independently by 18 months of age, it may indicate an underlying health condition that requires medical attention.

According to FDNA Health, hypotonia or low muscle tone is a major cause of walking delay in infants. Hypotonia may also present with a rare genetic disorder called Prader-Willi syndrome.

Other medical conditions that may cause delayed walking include cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and developmental hip dysplasia.

Factors Affecting Walking Milestones

Several factors can affect walking milestones in babies. These include:

  • Gender: Girls tend to walk earlier than boys.

  • Birth order: Firstborns may walk later than later-born children.

  • Birth weight: Babies with a higher birth weight may walk later than babies with a lower birth weight.

  • Parental age: Older parents may have babies who walk later than younger parents.

It is important to note that these factors are not definitive and may vary from child to child.

Signs of Late Walking

Physical Signs

Physical signs that may indicate late walking in babies include:

  • Difficulty standing or bearing weight on legs

  • Walking on tiptoes

  • Walking with a wide base

  • Uneven leg length

  • Delayed or absent crawling

  • Weakness in the legs or feet

If you notice any of these physical signs, it is important to talk to your pediatrician for an evaluation.

Developmental Milestones

Developmental milestones can be used to determine if a baby is experiencing late walking. The following milestones are generally expected:

2-3 months: Lifts head and chest while on stomach

6-7 months: Sits without support

9-10 months: Crawls on hands and knees

12-13 months: Stands alone

12-14 months: Walks independently

If your baby is not meeting these milestones, it may indicate late walking. However, it is important to keep in mind that every child develops at their own pace and some babies may reach these milestones later than others.

Causes of Late Walking

Medical Conditions

There are several medical conditions that can cause delayed walking in babies. These conditions can range from genetic disorders to nutritional deficiencies. Some of the most common medical conditions that can cause late walking in babies include:

  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy: This is a genetic condition where the nerves are attacked and interfere with one’s control of the body.

  • Hereditary Neuromuscular Disease: This is another genetic cause for delayed walking in babies.

  • Vitamin D Deficiency: Along with calcium, vitamin D plays an important role in the bone development of babies. Lack of it could be a probable reason for delayed walking.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors can play a significant role in delayed walking in babies. Some of the most common environmental factors that can cause a late walker include:

  • Lack of Opportunity: Some babies may not have enough opportunities to practice walking. This can be due to a lack of space or not enough time spent on the floor.

  • Overprotective Parenting: Overprotective parenting can hinder a baby’s ability to walk. If parents are constantly holding their baby, the baby may not have enough opportunities to practice walking.

  • Low Birth Weight: Babies with a low birth weight may take longer to develop the strength and coordination necessary for walking.

It’s important to note that not all cases of delayed walking are cause for concern. However, if you are concerned about your baby’s development like walking or language development and language skills, it’s always a good idea to talk to your pediatrician.

Here are some FAQs on late walking:

Is walking at 15 months late?

Walking at 15 months is not necessarily considered late, as the age at which babies begin walking can vary widely. However, it is important to monitor your child’s development and speak to a healthcare provider if you have concerns.

When should I worry that my baby is not walking?

If your baby is not walking by 18 months, it is recommended to speak to a healthcare provider. Other signs to look out for include delayed crawling, difficulty standing, and muscle weakness.

What causes a baby to walk late?

There can be a variety of reasons why a baby may begin walking later than expected, including genetics, physical development, and environmental factors. In some cases, there may be an underlying medical condition that is affecting the child’s ability to walk.

What age is considered late for walking?

While there is no exact age at which walking is considered late, most children begin walking between 9 and 18 months of age. If a child has not begun walking by 18 months, it is recommended to speak to a healthcare provider.

What causes a baby to delay walking?

Delayed walking can be caused by a variety of factors, including muscle weakness, developmental delays, neurological disorders, and genetic conditions. Environmental factors, such as a lack of opportunity for physical activity, can also play a role.

A lot of the time though, there is no issue and it’s as simple as: babies walk when they want to!

Is late walking a developmental delay?

Late walking can be a sign of a developmental delay, but it is not always the case. Developmental delays can affect a child’s ability to reach other milestones as well, such as crawling, standing, and talking. They can also cause variations such as toe walking.

If you are concerned about your child’s development, it is important to speak to a healthcare provider. Early intervention with a physical therapist is key should your child have any physical issues around walking.

Are delayed language development or poor language skills related to issues with gross motor skills?

It’s unlikely that speech delays are directly linked to late walking, however if you are noticing delays in speech and language, fine motor skills, social skills etc as well as late walking, it’s a good idea to speak to a paediatrician who can assess whether your child might have a developmental disorder affecting cognitive skills as well as motor skills.

The two aren’t directly linked though- you could have an early talker who is a late walker, or vice versa!

What can I do to help my baby learn to walk?

It’s important to ensure that your baby has lots of tummy time and time on the floor to help him roll, crawl and walk. Tummy time builds the core strength that he will later use to walk. There are also a massive amount of baby walkers on the market that will help your baby when they are starting to stand and cruise.

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