In February of 2022, the CDC updated their developmental milestones for infants and young children for the first time in nearly 20 years. In addition to delaying some of the most recognizable milestones, the CDC also added new benchmarks, and completely removed others.
And it was quite confusing for parents and medical experts alike.
There is a lot of information and misinformation out there about the why behind this sudden change, but here at McAuliffe Chiropractic, we are far less worried about the why and far more worried about the children these changes impact.
While the CDC is working to help bring attention to certain milestones that may indicate social delays or conditions such as autism, and added milestones all the way through 30 months, they also drastically changed two of the most important milestones for babies: crawling and walking.
And it understandably has many concerned. According to the CDC, here’s what parents should know about these two milestones and what the change means for their child.
Crawling is No Longer a Developmental Milestone
Often hailed as one of the most exciting physical and mental milestones for babies, the CDC has completely removed crawling from their list of milestones. It is perhaps the most controversial change by the CDC, and one that has many experts crying “foul.”
According to Jessica Hatfield, MS, OTR/L, a pediatric occupational therapist for TheraTree Pediatric Therapy, “When babies don't crawl, that's a red flag that something else might be wrong such as physiological difference in their feet/legs, reflux, inability to integrate reflexes, delay in other less obvious milestones, poor strength and muscle tone so eliminating it as a milestone could cause that red flag to be missed."
Crawling involves multiple reflexes, it builds up neck control and strength, prepares babies for walking and it uses both sides of their brain to work together. It is an important step for helping babies learn important motor skills and to start exploring and developing a sense of curiosity. Babies who fail to crawl at all may also be exhibiting signs of certain developmental delays.
Walking Milestones Have Changed From 12 Months to 18 Months
For nearly 20 years, parents have thought of their child’s first birthday as a time where their baby should also be taking their first steps. However, according to the CDC’s new milestones, children shouldn’t actually be walking until 18 months. Much like crawling, walking is an important milestone that encourages both sides of the brain to work together and marks a major developmental benchmark for little ones.
The concern among many parents and medical experts alike is that parents may miss signs of physical or neurological delays with the benchmark moved back by such a significant margin.
However, while some medical experts are confused as to why certain milestones are being pushed back instead of forward after 20 years, it is important to remember that every child is different. Some of these “big” milestones like crawling and walking are not only important for your child’s physical development, but for their brain development as well.
If you, as a parent, personally feel as though your child is struggling to develop at a normal pace, you should always contact a doctor instead of just abiding by this new criteria.
Our children have been through a great deal these past two years, growing up in the pandemic. Instead of moving the goals and sweeping developmental delays under the rug, it is important to make sure that parents are instead staying more diligent than ever.
Skipped and delayed milestones are a sign for intervention. It is important that all parents feel they can reach out to a doctor if their child isn’t crawling or is failing to walk by 12 months old. No one knows a child better than their parents. Ultimately, there is no better judge of whether or not children are falling behind or may have some sort of developmental delay.
Here at McAuliffe Chiropractic, we see a lot of babies who need a little help with the logistics of walking and crawling (and a few who may have some bumps, bruises and whiplash from learning to be mobile). If you are worried about your child’s development, no matter what the CDC milestones may say, you should always take them into a medical professional for examination.
It is always better to be safe than sorry.
This is the best way to make sure that your child is growing, developing and living up to their full potential. And we are here to help you along the way. If you have questions about your child’s development, certain milestones like walking or crawling, make sure to call your Laurel, MD family chiropractors. You can reach us directly at 301-776-0755, or book an appointment with us online today.