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Quick reference medical handouts used by Pediatric offices


My son is 16 months old and still not walking. My pediatrician says this is normal and I should not worry. As a parent, however, I am still very concerned. Should I be?
    
As you read developmental milestones in parenting books, it is important to remember that these are average expectations. Children have so many differences! One child may be quite advanced physically but not speaking at all. Another child may be chatting away but not walking.

Milestones are designed to give parents the “big” picture. Your pediatrician evaluates all areas of your child’s development at each well-baby checkup. As long as your child is doing more each month, there is usually no cause for alarm. That is the important thing.

You should see a steady growth in his developmental milestones each month. Concerning your specific question, only 50% of children walk by their first birthday.

Some begin walking as early as eight months while others do not walk until they are eighteen months. Many “late-walkers” are content just to crawl around and show little desire to walk. However, by 16 months most children are at least pulling up to stand if not already walking around things holding on (“furniture surfing”).

The age of walking has nothing to do with the child’s intelligence or eventual motor skills. Pediatricians usually begin to worry about late-walkers when the delay affects all forms of development – motor, social, and language. In addition, an underlying abnormality may exist when a child begins to lose previously attained developmental skills.

Remember that each child develops at his or her own pace. Try not to let your child know you are worried or anxious about his not walking. Many children pick up on this and their development becomes even slower. If you still have concerns about your child’s development, you have a 18-month checkup around the corner. There is an excellent chance that your child will be doing more by then!

 

As a reminder, this information should not be relied on as medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your child’s pediatrician. Please read our full disclaimer.

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