The walking stage is a huge milestone for every child. It’s an exciting new time when your baby officially becomes a toddler. Most babies learn to walk between 12 and 15 months. A baby is considered delayed in walking once they turn 18 months old. When a child is delayed in a certain gross motor skill, parents are always curious why this delay is happening.
Here are some reasons that your baby may be delayed in walking:
- Muscle weakness and/or low muscle tone. This is the most common reason. A child who has weakness or low tone in their core and hip muscles may have difficulty with walking. Sometimes this weakness affects the earlier milestones such as crawling, pulling up to stand, and cruising. If your baby had difficulty learning early milestones, they are more likely to have difficulty with walking. A physical therapist can do exercises with your child to strengthen their muscles and help them learn to walk.
- Orthopedic concerns. This involves the bones and joints in a child’s legs and how they are aligned. An example is hip dysplasia. These concerns are diagnosed by an orthopedic surgeon and are treated in a variety of ways.
- Neurological concerns. This involves the nerves, muscle fibers, and nervous system of the body. An example is diplegic cerebral palsy. These types of concerns are diagnosed by a neurologist.
Orthopedic and neurologic concerns can be very scary to parents. It is important to understand that a delay in walking does not automatically mean that your child has an orthopedic or neurological disability. If you think your child is delayed in walking, speak to your pediatrician. A pediatric physical therapist can evaluate red flags for causes of delayed walking, as well as help your child to learn this skill.
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee! If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140.