It is an interesting and fulfilling experience to see your baby finally taking those independent steps to explore the world around him after overcoming a series of motor milestones. He gets on to his tummy first, then rolls over, after which he goes on all fours, sits on his own, then stands and eventually begins walking. Some of them may skip rolling over and crawling, directly moving on to cruising around once they can stand unassisted between the eighth and tenth month .
Most babies begin taking their first steps between nine and twelve months of age. By the time they are fourteen or fifteen months old, they start moving about with ease. However, some may take sixteen or even eighteen months to walk without support, which is fine as long as they are physically active [1, 6].
Babies with advanced motor skills may walk as early as eight months.  A baby boy in the United Kingdom began walking on his own when he was just six months old .
|Age in Months||Milestones met|
|0-2||Because of the presence of the stepping or walking reflex from birth till about two months, babies push their feet forward just like walking when held in an upright posture [1,2,3].|
|3-4||Does mini pushups during tummy time by lifting his head and shoulders with support from his arms [1, 4].|
|6-7||Bounces up and down when held in a standing posture [5,6]|
|8 -10||Sit unsupported, tries getting to a standing position while holding onto furniture, figures out ways to bend his knees, bends to pick his toy when standing [6,8].|
|11-12||Most will stand without help for a couple of seconds, might walk a few steps with support [8, 9].|
|13-15||Begins walking unsteadily, stands on his own, might attempt walking backward [8,10]|
|16||Walking gets better, adapts the skill of walking backward, shows interest in going up the stairs.|
|17-18||Starts climbing furniture, can go up the stairs with support though cannot come down, attempts kicking a ball, enjoys dancing to music [6, 8], learns to run .|
|19-24||Runs with ease, loves to walk while carrying an object in hand, learns jumping from a low height to the floor [8, 11, 12], learns kicking a ball with ease when in standing posture .|
|25- 30||Walking gets better, jumping improves, can climb the stairs on his own [1, 8, 12].|
|31 -36||Starts riding a tricycle, can stand on one foot for a short span , jumps with ease .|
|36 to 48||Can go up and down the stairs, mastered movements of kicking, throwing and catching a ball, climbs with ease, runs well, walks in a front and back motion comfortably .|
If your baby is walking indoors, let him go around barefooted to attain balanced and coordinated movements. Moreover, wearing shoes for a prolonged period might squash his feet, restricting it from growing in a proper way. He will need shoes only when taken outdoors. Choose leather, canvas or cotton shoes rather than the ones made of plastic as they may make his feet sweat causing fungal infections like athlete’s foot [1, 14]. Shoes with rubber and lightweight soles are preferred to reduce chances of sliding and slipping , while hard soled shoes hamper the proper movement of his feet . While purchasing your baby’s shoes, make sure that it fits him well, also having ample growing space .
Measure your baby’s feet in every 6 to 8 weeks, as he keeps needing new shoes quite often till four years of age, after which measurements may be taken at a three-month interval .
The American Academy of Pediatrics does not support the use of baby walkers because of the dangers and hazards associated with it. In fact, a baby put on a walker would find it much easy to move around, missing out on the challenges and difficulties associated with the process of learning to walk. Therefore, he may be lagging behind in flexibility, with his leg muscles not developing properly [1, 16].
Moreover, walkers are extremely unsafe for babies, giving them easy access to certain common items like perfumes and medicines. The ones with wheels are even more dangerous, increasing the risk of injuries as they have a high speed, that may cause the baby to topple or collide against any furniture, gas stove, or even fall from the stairs [21, 22].
Though delayed walking is not always due to a physical or intellectual disability, consult a doctor to ensure that your baby is fine if he does not walk with ease after eighteen months of age [6, 26]. Toe walking is common when your baby is cruising about, but bring it up to your health care provider if it persists after two years of age or is done too often by your kid, as it might indicate a problem in his muscles or certain neurological disorders [18, 27].
It is common for babies to hurt themselves while they are learning to walk. However, medical attention is required if your baby has injured his head, also having the symptoms of drowsiness and vomiting .
Published on September 12th 2015 by Pregmed Editorial Team.
Article was last reviewed on 12th September 2015.