Rolling over being one of the biggest developmental milestones, marks the beginning of the first of his motor movements, which is followed by sitting, crawling and finally walking.
The average age for babies to roll over from their tummy to back is four months, as by then they have sufficient strength in their arms to change their position, though some may show this development a bit earlier or even later. Infants may at times skip rolling over, directly proceeding to sitting and crawling .
Babies are born with fencing reflex also known as tonic neck reflex, in which when lying on their back the head is turned to a side, with their hand and leg on that side being stretched, whereas on the other side they are flexed .
This reflex acts as a shield preventing the baby from rolling over to his tummy until his brain and body is prepared for this action. Some experts even say that this is perhaps nature’s way of preventing SIDS ( Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). It gradually disappears when the baby attains six months of age .
Their motor movements start improving by the third month, and by the time the babies are four months old they can flip back when placed on their stomach by using their arms to raise their head and shoulder . However, between the fifth and seven month their flexibility improves, making them master the skill of rolling over in all directions (front-to-back and back-to-front, side-to-side) with great ease and agility. By this time, they even display other motor movements like lifting their chest by taking support from their shoulder, kicking legs as well as raising their head [3, 6].
Though each child varies from the other in showing this particular skill, parents too need to take several initiatives for teaching their little ones how to roll over.
Though it is a wonderful experience to see your kids in motion for the first time, several safety measures are to be adopted as improper rolling over techniques may increase the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
If your baby is not making any attempt to roll over to any side or showing any other movement by six months of age, then it is important to bring it to the notice of your pediatrician [1,6].
Published on March 6th 2015 by Pregmed Editorial Team.
Article was last reviewed on 24th September 2015.