What Does Prone Skateboarding in the Newborn Tell Us About the Ontogeny of Human Locomotion?

Child Dev. 2019 Jul;90(4):1286-1302. doi: 10.1111/cdev.13251. Epub 2019 Jul 3.


The crawling behavior of sixty 2-day-old newborns was studied while they were supported prone on a mini skateboard and on a pediatric mattress without additional support. Analyses of the number and types of limb movements and their characteristics, the coactivation of limb pairs, and the displacement across the surface, revealed that newborns can crawl with locomotor patterns similar to those documented during quadrupedal locomotion in animals and human adults. This was particularly apparent on the skateboard. This discovery suggests that locomotor circuitry underlying quadrupedal locomotion develops during fetal life. Drawing upon other evidence for a quadrupedal organization underlying bipedal gait, we argue that early quadrupedal training may enhance interventions designed to hasten the onset of independent walking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Fetal Development / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Locomotion / physiology*