Should I be worried that my daughter is a late walker?

Q: My daughter is a week shy of turning 18 months, but she is not walking independently. Her pediatrician told us at her 15-month appointment that it would happen anytime, but it hasn't happened yet. She will take 2-3 steps between us or the furniture, but then she plops down to the floor and scoots. We think she knows how to walk, but she just doesn't want to yet. The doctor assured us there is nothing to worry about. We walk with her all the time, holding one hand, trying to encourage her. Her 18-month appointment is in three weeks. Any advice?

A: All children reach their milestones at slightly different ages, but 90% of children are walking by 15 months of age. In general, when a child does not master a particular milestone during the expected time range (for walking it is 10-15 months old), it is time to do an assessment. It's possible that your daughter is fearful and just afraid to take those big steps alone. But, it's also possible that she has low muscle tone or lacks coordination and she could use some help. I suggest asking her pediatrician for a referral to a physical therapist and get her checked.

Answered by Dr. Ari Brown

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