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I play with my daughter on a bed - we roll, tickle, "fly", laugh. I also started crawling with her, similar to this video at the 0:36 mark (it's not me, I just remembered this video when asking the question).

I'm not certain she enjoys it - she seems more intrigued than happy when we're doing this. She does not cry though, has no bruises or any other signs of being hurt or unhappy.

Is this safe? Can I keep doing this? Will this help her learn to crawl?

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3 Answers 3

"Safe" as in not harmful? Of course. Assuming you're not hurting her, there's minimal risk of physical harm in "forced crawling" around (don't step on her).

When babies do crawl, they really slam their limbs into the floor, and they very often fall down. It's good to note that your baby's kneecaps are not bone, yet. They are cartilage, so there's a much lower impact on the body when she does move around. As long as she's not resisting or otherwise identifiably unhappy, there's nothing wrong with helping her to experience some more physical movements.

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Forced anything is not good for your child. Or for your spouse or colleague or anyone else.

If you want more specific feedback, I can give you a child physiotherapeutist's opinion: Don't do it. Let him/her do what he/she feels like doing. No forced crawling, walking or anything, that creates bad movement habbits which take real hard work to fix years later.

Children are truly amazing in doing just what they need to develop themselves without any external motivation. Please let them.

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I can't speak to safe, but it's probably not very effective at encouraging crawling. I doubt there are any studies showing this, but intuitively it doesn't seem useful.

Babies will typically crawl when they're physically ready; strength, balance, etc. are all things that just take time. The main thing you can do for encouraging that along is 'tummy time', to get him/her comfortable with being on tummy and to let the baby start doing some strength exercises (ie, pushing up). You can also do similar types of strength exercises such as push/pull (where you push against the baby's hand or leg trying to get him/her to push back or similarly pull against pulling), or place objects near but not quite at the baby to encourage him/her to reach or try moving.

Some things definitely do not help with walking/crawling. Bouncers, for example, are net negatives if used too much, because they assist with balance too much so the baby doesn't learn to balance on his/her own. "Forced crawling" is probably not a negative as long as it's not done a lot (like an hour a day or something), but similarly it doesn't help the baby actually learn how to do the actions or use his/her own strength to do them.

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