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My little one is 6 months old, but isn’t showing any sign of rolling over. However, he is sitting up on his own. I know all babies learn things at different rates, but I want to know if I should be worried if he doesn’t roll over?

  • Can your baby roll to one side? – jcmack May 23 at 17:47
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    @jcmack - How does that clarify the question? The OP is asking if they should be concerned that their baby isn't rolling over. The answer is yes, that is a valid concern that should be brought to the attention of the baby's primary care provider. Rolling to one side might lead someone to pooh-pooh the concern and encourage the OP to wait it out. It's entirely possible (and even probable) that this is benign; after all, someone has to be in the last 10%. But that's no reason not to bring this up with the PCP. – anongoodnurse May 24 at 2:30
  • @anongoodnurse I think it's important to clarify the statement of "6 months but isn’t showing any sign of rolling over" and gives us more information on severity of the situation. Rolling to one side is not rolling over, but on the way there. I'd even more concerned if a 6 month isn't rolling to one side either. The first thing the pediatrician will ask you is can your baby roll to one side. – jcmack May 24 at 9:08
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    @jcmack - Yes, that will be the first thing a professional will ask. My question/comment still stands. – anongoodnurse May 24 at 10:16
  • @jcmack He twists his top half over like he is going to roll doesn’t actually roll. It looks like he just needs to push himself over with his legs but doesn’t do it. – Paige May 24 at 15:18
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Nelson, E. A., Yu, L. , Wong, D. , Wong, H. and Yim, L. (2004), Rolling over in infants: age, ethnicity, and cultural differences. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 46: 706-709. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8749.2004.tb00985.x
This is the page and here's the pdf view.

‘Roll over’ in the Denver Developmental Screening Test (Frankenburg et al. 1981, 1992) means that the child is seen to roll from back-to-stomach or from stomach-to-back, or the parents have seen the infant roll completely over from back-to-stomach or from stomach-to-back at least twice.

In table 3 on page 708, they compared the mean ages of when infants learned to roll over from different studies. This study showed that

  • 25% of the 4.2 month old
  • 50% of the 5.0 month old
  • 75% of the 5.7 month old
  • 90% of the 6.6 month old

infants had already learned to roll over. But the studies show some variety, e. g. take the Shanghai study with quite some delay.

Taking the arithmetic means of all the studies together, I got

  • 25% of the 3.5 month old
  • 50% of the 4.5 month old
  • 75% of the 5.1 month old
  • 90% of the 6.0 month old

infants having learned to roll over. It seems that yours would be a little late.

The CDC Milestone Moments (pdf download) notes that 4-month-olds may be able to roll over from back to tummy. They expect 6-month-olds to be able to roll over and, if not,

Tell your child’s doctor or nurse if you notice any of these signs of possible developmental delay for this age, and talk with someone in your community who is familiar with services for young children in your area, such as your state’s public early intervention program.

Conclusion

I suggest to follow the advice of the CDC - better safe than sorry - and talk to your doctor to see if there's anything wrong with your child.

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