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How bodily coordination impacts the early stages of walking in infants.

It is pretty well known that children don’t start walking at the same time and kids don’t just get up and walk perfectly one day. Walking for young children and infants is a process and from the outside, it looks like young children and infants struggle because they are uncoordinated and lack balance. But in reality, that is not the reason why young children and infants struggle with walking. A study done at CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) found that the reason children initially struggle to walk is because young children and infants don’t have enough strength in their lower limbs to carry them upright on two legs. To investigate this idea, the study used a harness to relieve between 20-40% of an infant’s total body weight and track how well infants walked with their full body weight, 80% of their body weight, and with 60% of their body weight. They found that young children and infants already have the bodily coordination and mental capability to walk by the time they start to cruise or walk with assistance. This means that young children and infants look uncoordinated when they first begin to walk because they are in the process of building their lower limb strength, so they are able to walk smoothly.


Kornafel T, Paremski AC, Prosser LA. Unweighting infants reveals hidden motor skills. Dev Sci. 2023 Mar;26(2):e13279. doi: 10.1111/desc.13279. Epub 2022 Jun 9. PMID: 35593750.

By: Natalie Lannie

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