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My daughter turned 2 at the end of April and still isn’t walking unassisted.

What’s weird is she’ll do everything else you’d expect: she’ll walk if someone holds her hands; she’ll use her walker and can even steer it around turns; she can climb up and down a whole flight of stairs; she’ll pull herself up and cruise along the furniture.

So it doesn’t seem like there’s a physical problem. But she’s been doing all these things for months and still hasn’t progressed to walking unassisted, or even really attempting to. If we try to get her to walk on her own, she immediately drops to the floor. We’ve tried tricking her by having her hold onto detached objects (which worked on my other daughter), or by putting something just out of her reach when she’s standing up against the furniture, but she doesn’t fall for it.

She seems developmentally normal in other ways, too: naming objects, saying words and simple phrases (“bye bye Daddy,” etc.), identifying people, mimicking what other people do, etc. She sleeps well, eats well, etc.

We’re hoping it’s just the type of thing where one day she’ll just start doing it all of a sudden – she did the same thing with solid food – but given that she’s 2, it’s unusual and a little unsettling...

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    Have you talked to your pediatrician about this? – Joe May 20 '18 at 16:17
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    What's the question here? I can imagine a few different things that you could want, but without an explicit question, people can only guess what help you want. – Becuzz May 22 '18 at 14:35
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This may be normal for your child, but it may not be; we can't say. For that reason, I recommend speaking about this with her primary care provider, who can see the whole picture.

This PDF is a chart in common use as a quick first look at developmental milestones in language, social skills, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills.

If you look at the 15 month mark in gross motor skills, you'll see that toddlers should be walking. The solid blue part of the box indicates "late walkers" but still ok. If a child falls off the chart (as yours has), the provider usually does a more careful developmental evaluation. If the child truly has achieved the vast majority of their milestones, they'll usually take a wait and see approach. But it's important that a professional take a look; no one can tell you it's perfectly fine over the internet. Most people have few reference points (their kids, their friends'and relative's kids); a provider has hundreds if not thousands of reference points.

TL:DR: Only a professional with "eyeballs on her" can tell you definitively if she's fine or if she should have a more in-depth examination.

Something to keep in mind: Parents are a great indicator of something being wrong with the child. If you're truly worried, but your doctor reassures you it's nothing, don't be afraid to ask for a second opinion.

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We’re hoping it’s just the type of thing where one day she’ll just start doing it all of a sudden – she did the same thing with solid food...

It turns out this is exactly how it happened!

The breakthrough seemed to be getting her a pair of real shoes: she got really excited about them and wanted to wear them all the time. The first day or two with the shoes on, she'd still hold someone's hand, but would walk much further and longer than she would before (like around the entire block in our neighborhood).

And then she just completely took off from there. Within literally the span of a week, she went from not walking unassisted at all, to standing up on her own, to walking a few steps, to walking across the room, to walking permanently.

Rather odd that she wouldn't even try walking until 26 months old, but once she decided to, she became an expert rather quickly!

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As long as you have no other concerns, it’s probably fine (caveat - I have no qualifications to say that definitively). However, when was the last time you met an adult and thought ‘they must have been a late walker’. The research I’m aware of suggests these early milestones are poor predictors of overall cognitive development. Even Einstein (they say) had some seeming developmental delays. For what it’s worth, my 15 month old can walk, but chooses not to or lacks the confidence to make the switch. Everything else is at or above average. In 6 months you’ll long for the days you didn’t have to chase him/her.

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    Opinions are easy to share, but they are unreliable for medical problems. Sure, since most kids are 'fine', the odds that this child is 'fine' are pretty goos, but what can you add to your opinion/guess? This would be a much better answer if you added a reliable (i.e. scientific study or pediatric textbook) source. Thanks. – anongoodnurse May 22 '18 at 2:26

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