Your baby will possibly start to crawl at around 7 to 10 months. It is perfectly normal if your baby hasn’t started crawling - some babies shuffle around on their bottoms. However, if your baby isn't showing any signs of moving by 12 months, ask your paediatrician for advice.1

Encouraging tummy time

It is important for babies to sleep on their backs. However, babies need time on their tummy to build the muscles needed for sitting and crawling. You can start doing tummy time from birth by placing your baby on your chest – make sure to only do this when you're awake.2

Little and often is best, to begin with. You can gradually increase the amount of time, and when your baby is ready, you can try doing tummy time on the floor. Tummy time should only be done when your baby is awake and alert, and you're there to keep a watch on them.2

A baby needs to be happy on their tummy and pushing themselves upon their hands and knees before they can start to crawl. Sometimes babies start by shuffling around on their tummy (known as commando crawl) before crawling. 3

Crawling is important3

Watching your baby learn to crawl can truly be a memorable experience. Crawling is an exciting time for your baby, as well. It gives them a sense of independence and a chance to explore their surroundings. It also helps them develop balance.

What to check for while your baby is crawling3

You need to make sure that your baby’s:

  • Head is in line with their body and looking ahead
  • Body is straight and shoulders in level
  • Hands are under their shoulders, with elbows straight and fingers open and pointing roughly forwards
  • Knees are under their hips, and legs parallel

When your baby starts crawling3,4

Once your child starts crawling ‘child-proofing’, their surroundings becomes important. You can do this by:

  • Removing articles that may cause them harm
  • Remove cot toys and cot bumpers, as a baby can climb on them and may fall out of the cot
  • Fit safety gates to stop your baby getting onto stairs
  • Keep low furniture away from windows

Ways to progress and challenge3

You can help your baby progress by

  • Giving them cushions and other soft, safe items to crawl over.
  • Giving them items to crawl through, under or round to develop their balance and spatial awareness.
  • Helping them crawl up or downstairs – always ensure that they are closely supervised.


  1. National Health Service. Baby moves [Internet] Available at: Accessed on Feb 25, 2020.
  2. National Health Service. How to keep your baby or toddler active-Your pregnancy and baby guide. Available at: Accessed on Feb 25, 2020.
  3. Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. Children’s Community Physiotherapy. [Internet] Available at: Accessed on Feb 25, 2020.
  4. National Health Service. Baby and toddler safety-Your pregnancy and baby guide [Internet] Available at: Accessed on Feb 25, 2020.