Monday, December 3, 2018

How to Help Baby Crawl!

As a pediatric occupational therapist, I'm often asked about the importance of crawling.  I have to say that I'm convinced that there is a relationship between crawling and the development of a number of important skills. For example, the physical act of crawling strengthens a baby's hand, arm, should, and core muscles, and research suggests that crawling influences the development of visual-spatial skills and social-emotional development. I've written about this topic quite a bit! (For more information, see the links below.)
Because I'm such a proponent of early exploration and crawling, I was super excited to learn about a product called the CrawlAhead! This is a portable device used to assist a baby with crawling on all fours by supporting the child's trunk while he or she is in the hands and knees position. When a baby has muscle weakness or other challenges, the CrawlAhead can be used to lift the trunk off of the support surface, allowing the baby to assume and maintain a quadruped position. This provides opportunities for weight bearing and strengthening, which we therapists know is very important! Additionally, a parent or therapist can guide the child's arms and legs "through the motions" of crawling while the support by the device, which will help with motor planning! With practice and time, strength and coordination improves, and the need for the device is reduced, and hopefully, baby will eventually crawl independently! An added bonus of the CrawlAhead is that it is collapsible and fits into a sturdy bag for transporting, which is important for parents and therapists who are "on the go!"

For information about this wonderful product, click on the following link and visit the website. https://litegait.com/products/CrawlAhead

Photos used with permission.
 
Related articles:
"Why is Crawling Developmentally Important?" https://www.babble.com/baby/crawling-is-crucial/
The Benefits of Tummy Time- https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/18/well/the-benefits-of-tummy-time.html 
Crawling Styles- https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Crawling-Styles.aspx


References
Bai, DL & Bertenthal, BI (1992). Locomotor status and the development of spatial search skills. Child Development, 63, 215-226. 
Benson, J. B. (1990). The development and significance of crawling in infancy. In J. E. Clark, & J. H. Humphrey (Eds.),    Advances in motor development research. New York: AMS Press.  
Benson, JB, & Uzgiris, I C (1985). Effect of self-initiated locomotion on infant search activity. Developmental Psychology, 21(6), 923-931.  
Campos, J. J., Bertenthal, B. I., & Kermoian, R. (1992). Early experience and emotional development: The emergence of wariness of heights. Psychological Science, 3, 61-64













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