Birth Season of Babies Influences First Walk

It sure was true for us.  Babies born in the winter learn to crawl sooner than summer time babies, according to a new study.

Our son, born in June, didn't learn to crawl until he was a year old, and didn't walk till he was almost 17 months.  I panicked about the walking.  People said, "Enjoy it," but I just wanted him to be like the other babies -- now running and jumping and climbing, while our son just tried to slide along the dirty floors in restaurants and anywhere we put him down.

Then, one night (I was sleeping), my husband was reading the paper and looked up and thought, oh, there's Phillip, walking across the floor to me.  Say what???

Like most kids who start walking at a later age, there was no falling down or bumping into things for him.  Once he walked, he walked.

The season of a baby’s birth influences its motor development during its first year of life, a new study by University of Haifa researcher's shows, according to newswise.com. Babies born in the winter (between December and May) start crawling earlier compared to babies born in the summer (June-November).

The study consisted of motor observations in the babies’ homes when they were seven months old, and a follow-up session when they began to crawl. Parents were asked to record the stages in their babies’ development before and between the observations.

The average age at which the babies started crawling was 31 weeks. But while the babies born in the winter (who started to crawl in the summer) started to crawl at an average 30 weeks, those born in the summer (who started to crawl in the winter) began crawling at an average of 35 weeks, with no differences noted between the boys or the girls or in the initial style of crawling (belly crawling or using hands and knees).
The score -- an observational assessment with high reliability --  was higher for those babies born in the winter, and the score for movement in the prone position, the scale most meaningful in connection with crawling was, significantly higher for the babies in the winter group.
“The difference in crawling onset of four weeks constitutes 14 percent of a seven-month-old’s life and is significant,” the researchers note, newswise.com reports. “Documenting the trend by comparing the results of a standard evaluation scale strengthens the findings and points to a significant seasonal effect in the Israeli context.  The geographic location and the local climate where the study is conducted is important to understand the findings, they add.
"A seasonal effect is found in places where the differences in the home environment between summer and winter are significant. Studies done in Denver, Colorado and in Osaka, Japan found a seasonal effect that corresponds with the findings of the Haifa study, but a study conducted in Alberta, Canada, where winters are long and cold on the one hand, but the home environment (because of winter heating) is very similar all year round, the seasonal effect was not observed," the researchers say.
I'm not sure this has much validity because a baby born a week after Phillip was walking and dancing long before my son was.  But right now, outside playing soccer, he doesn't seem to show any ill effects!

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