Early Mobility and Crawling: Beliefs and Practices of Pediatric Physical Therapists in the United States

Kari S. Kretch, Stacey C. Dusing, Regina T. Harbourne, Lin Ya Hsu, Barbara A. Sargent, Sandra L. Willett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: To characterize beliefs of pediatric physical therapists (PTs) in the United States regarding the role of crawling in infant development and clinical practice. METHODS: Pediatric PTs reported their beliefs about early mobility and crawling, clinical approaches related to early mobility and crawling, and agreement with the removal of crawling from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s updated developmental milestone checklists in an online survey. Analyses examined associations between information sources and beliefs, between beliefs and clinical approaches, and between beliefs and CDC update opinions. RESULTS: Most participants believed that crawling was important (92%) and linked to a variety of positive developmental outcomes (71%-99%) and disagreed with its removal from the CDC checklists (79%). Beliefs were linked with clinical approaches focused on promoting crawling and discouraging other forms of mobility. CONCLUSIONS: Further research is needed to determine whether pediatric PTs' beliefs and clinical practices are supported by evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-17
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric physical therapy : the official publication of the Section on Pediatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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