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Crawling with Style: Understanding Asymmetrical Crawling and Its Implications

Diving into the adorable quirks of baby milestones, we encounter babies crawling with one leg out, a sight that might raise eyebrows among watchful parents.

Is this asymmetrical crawling a cause for concern, or just another variation in the wide spectrum of normal development?

Briefly, crawling with one leg out is generally considered normal and, while asymmetrical crawling can intrigue many, it’s not a standalone indicator of autism.

Join us as we explore these fascinating aspects of early development, providing insights and peace of mind.


  1. Discover why your baby’s first crawl is more than just a milestone—it’s a window into their unique personality and development journey, from the timing to their very own crawling style!.
  2. While the classic hands-and-knees crawling is well-known, infants often adopt a variety of styles to move around. Each style has its unique characteristics.
  3. Discover why some babies turn into little acrobats, choosing a unique ‘one leg crawling’, and what it reveals about their adventurous paths to development.
  4. Diving into the debate: Is asymmetrical crawling a sign of autism? Let’s debunk myths and uncover what research really shows—join us as we navigate this complex terrain together.
  5. Conclusion

Understanding Baby Crawling

Crawling with One Leg Out Is It OK Header

Crawling isn’t just about those adorable baby videos; it’s a significant leap in your little one’s development. It’s their first taste of independence, moving from point A to B on their own steam.

Typically, babies hit this milestone somewhere between 7 to 10 months, but just like adults, babies don’t follow a one-size-fits-all schedule.

Some are on the move as early as 6 months, while others might take up to 12 or 13 months to start exploring. So, if your bub is taking their sweet time, remember, they’re just on their own unique journey.

Now, when it comes to crawling styles, it’s a real showcase of individuality. Just like choosing their favorite toy or bedtime story, babies pick their own way of getting around.

Some scoot on their bellies, others prefer the classic hands-and-knees method, and a few might surprise you by crawling with one leg out, showcasing a unique one-legged show!

This diversity in crawling styles is influenced by a mix of things, from physical development, like head control, to the environment they’re growing up in.

It’s fascinating how even early experiences, like belly crawling, play a role in shaping their crawling technique. And yes, even the gear we use, like baby walkers, can impact when and how they crawl.

So, let’s embrace this exciting stage, encouraging our little explorers as they discover the world on all fours, in their own style and time.

Different Types of Crawling

Type of baby crawling

Babies use crawling to pull their bodies forward. Every baby will use different body parts to achieve balance and move forward, so you shouldn’t feel alarmed if you don’t think that your baby is crawling the right way.

Here are the most popular types of crawling.

Classic Crawling

This is the most common type of crawling where the baby will balance on all fours. Your infant will move one arm to the front while moving the opposite knee at the same time.

Belly Crawling

Babies can start belly-crawling before shifting to classic crawling. They usually drag their tummies across the floor while maintaining support with their arms.

This crawling method is easier than the classic one because the baby doesn’t need to balance on all fours.

Some children will stick to this method until they learn how to walk. It’s also known as Commando Crawling.

Bear Crawling

Baby bear crawl

Baby bear crawl

In this position, your baby will also balance on all fours, but he or she will crawl with their limbs unbent. The back will be arched, and the child will have to lift their head to see their surroundings.

Crab Crawling

You might see your infant struggling to move forward if they use this crawling method, which often helps them to move backward or to the side.

In this position, the baby will push rather than pull with the arms, which usually sends them to the back.

This can make the baby a little bit frustrated as they feel that they’re unable to go where they need to.

Nevertheless, some babies adjust to this technique and will position themselves differently until they can reach their desired destination, although they’re moving backward.

Bunny Hop Crawling

Babies learn to crawl using both their hands simultaneously or to hop while supporting both knees.

In the long run, this type of crawling can affect your baby’s overall mobility and their ability to achieve balance while standing up or walking.

Bum Crawling

Your infant will sit upright and support their weight on their bottom. They will propel their body to the front while using arms for support, and without engaging the legs.

In some cases, the legs might bend forward, or one of them might be flat.

Although some kids find this style to be very comfortable, the child won’t be able to strengthen the head and neck muscles in this position.

If one leg is extended, the spine and the hips might be tilted to one side, leading to the formation of scoliosis.

In the future, the child might face problems while standing or walking because they prefer to use one leg over the other.

Bottom Scoot (Bottom Shuffler)

In this scooting motion, the baby sits on their bottom and uses their arms to propel themselves forward. Legs may be straight out behind or alternate for pushing.

Tripod Crawl (Janky Crawl)

An interesting variation where the baby uses one arm and two legs to create a tripod shape. This may be a temporary phase as they develop their coordination.

Frog Leg Crawling

Here, the baby crawls with their knees wide apart, resembling a frog’s stance. This can indicate weakness in core muscles or hips.

Roll Crawling

Frog leg crawling

Frog leg crawling / Source:

Although this is not a type of crawling in a technical way, some babies still use this method to move their bodies from one location to another.

The child will roll from one side to another to move, and they might start crawling later on, or use this method until they learn to walk.

It’s quite common to see your baby shifting from one style to another, or combining several techniques until they’re most comfortable.

All of these styles are quite normal and shouldn’t alarm you. They can represent crawling stages that allow your baby to strengthen their muscles and achieve balance before they’re ready for walking without any help.

Understanding Babies Crawling with One Leg Out

One leg out crawling

One leg out crawling

Now, Let’s dive into the intriguing topic of babies “crawling with one leg out,” often referred to as “club crawling,” is a unique locomotion style observed in some babies. This method involves a baby extending one leg to the side while using the other three limbs for movement.

Though direct research on this crawling variation is somewhat limited, piecing together findings from related studies offers us a fascinating glimpse into why some babies might adopt this method.

Environmental Adaptations and Locomotor Strategies

A study by, (David I. Anderson, 2016) found that the support surface and a baby’s stage in crawling development could influence their crawling style.

This means that as babies encounter different surfaces, they might find crawling with one leg out to be a more adaptable or efficient way to move around.

(Justine E. Hoch, 2019) complement this view by observing that babies may choose specific crawling strategies, like using one leg out, based on efficiency and effectiveness in reaching a target.

This behavior underlines the adaptive nature of infants, demonstrating that variations in crawling might be more about individual problem-solving and movement optimization than a signal of developmental issues.

The Influence of Optic Flows and Physical Handling

Exploring further (Vincent Forma, 2018) sheds light on how the visual environment, specifically terrestrial optic flows, influences newborn crawling movements.

This suggests that the way babies perceive movement and space could encourage them to experiment with different crawling techniques, including crawling with one leg out.

Additionally, (Gary M. Gorlick, 1971) discusses the potential impact of carrying positions on leg movement, hinting that how we hold our babies might nudge them towards using one leg differently from the other.

These insights suggest a combination of sensory experiences and physical handling could shape this unique crawling style.

Asymmetrical Crawling and Muscle Development

When it comes to concerns about asymmetrical crawling, such as crawling with one leg out, and its potential relation to muscle weakness, the conversation gets a bit more nuanced.

Research, including that by (Qi L. Xiong, 2018), delves into the complexity of motor coordination during crawling, highlighting the importance of examining motor patterns for signs of atypical development, even though it doesn’t directly address asymmetrical crawling or muscle weakness.

Moreover, a narrative review by (Qi L. Xiong, 2021) on analyzing human infant crawling for rehabilitation points towards an interest in understanding varied crawling styles, suggesting a framework for identifying and potentially aiding infants who might benefit from early intervention.

In the realm of developmental interventions, (L. Kristi Sayers, 1996) provides insights through their qualitative analysis on how targeted interventions can support motor development in infants with Down syndrome, implying that early asymmetrical movements, including varied crawling styles, can be focal points for support and intervention.

While direct evidence specifically examining “crawling with one leg out” and its implications for muscle weakness or developmental concerns is scarce, these studies collectively suggest that crawling variations, including asymmetrical patterns, are a natural part of infant motor development.

Such variations are usually not a cause for immediate concern but signal the diverse ways in which infants adapt to their environments and challenges.

Nonetheless, if parents or caregivers have concerns about their child’s motor development, including unusual crawling patterns, consulting with pediatric healthcare providers or physical therapists can offer tailored advice and intervention strategies to support optimal development.

Asymmetrical Crawling and Autism: Unraveling the Connection

It’s a topic ripe with questions, and rightly so, because understanding our babies’ development is crucial. Let’s unpack what the research says and clear up some common misconceptions.

Limited Direct Evidence: What Does the Research Say?

When it comes to linking asymmetrical crawling directly to autism, the research landscape is more like a desert than a lush forest.

Studies like those conducted by (Lori-Ann R. Sacrey, 2018) have delved into the finer points of motor development in infants who were later diagnosed with ASD, pinpointing nuances in movements such as reach-to-grasp. Yet, they stop short of drawing a direct line between asymmetrical crawling and autism.

The broader body of research suggests that while children with ASD might display unique patterns in motor development, including challenges with both fine and gross motor skills, pinning autism diagnosis on asymmetrical crawling alone is a leap too far (Annik Beaulieu, 2021; Jessica Bradshaw, 2022).

Early Indicators and Diagnosis: A Broader Perspective

Yes, motor irregularities, including variations in crawling, have been observed in kiddos later identified with ASD. This connection is intriguing and underscores the importance of keeping an eye on the full spectrum of developmental milestones.

However, it’s crucial to recognize that these irregularities are part of a wider array of early indicators, not sole harbingers of an ASD diagnosis (Moore, D. J., & Shiek, 1971; R. Coutelle, T. Montaut & D. Sibertin-Blanc , 2011).

Common Misconceptions: Clearing the Air

A pervasive myth is that asymmetrical crawling is a red flag for autism. Here’s the deal: While it’s true that early motor differences are seen in children with ASD, asymmetrical crawling in isolation isn’t a diagnostic clincher.

Autism spectrum disorder is complex, characterized by a variety of social, communicative, and behavioral differences, not just by how a child moves across the living room floor.

Putting too much emphasis on a single behavior like asymmetrical crawling can distract from the multifaceted nature of ASD and the necessity for comprehensive professional evaluations.

Evidence-Based Guidance for Concerned Parents

For parents spotting their little one crawling with a unique flair, here’s the bottom line: don’t hit the panic button over asymmetrical crawling.

Keep an eye on your child’s overall developmental journey, celebrating their milestones and staying observant of their growth across different domains.

If something niggles at you, consulting with healthcare professionals is the way to go.

Remember, many children who showcase asymmetrical crawling patterns grow up hitting their developmental markers in stride.

In the grand scheme, the relationship between asymmetrical crawling and autism remains an area ripe for further study.

For now, parents are best served by leaning on evidence-based insights and seeking professional advice when questions about their child’s development arise.

This balanced approach ensures that our little ones receive the support they need, tailored to their unique developmental path.


It’s clear from our exploration that these unique crawling styles are generally part of the vast tapestry of normal baby development. They offer a glimpse into the diverse ways our little ones learn to interact with their surroundings.

While it’s natural for parents to wonder about the implications of such crawling patterns, we’ve seen that these variations are usually not cause for alarm and are not direct indicators of autism.

Remember, every baby’s developmental path is as unique as they are. Observing and celebrating these individual milestones can be a joyous part of the parenting journey.

If concerns arise, it’s always best to consult with healthcare professionals who can provide personalized guidance and reassurance.

Thank you for joining us on this enlightening exploration, and here’s to supporting our little ones as they discover the world in their own special way.

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Monday 17th of October 2022

This is our granddaughter at 18 months.

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