Research shows that crawling relates to several other areas of development including eye-hand coordination, binocular vision and, later on, reading and writing. Additionally, some studies indicate that a lack of crawling can be related to ADD/ADHD and autism spectrum disorders.
Different kinds of crawls
Not all babies crawl in a traditional way. Some babies scoot on their bellies, dragging their legs. This method of crawling is often called commando or combat crawling. Some bear crawl on their hands and feet, and even fewer crab crawl -- one knee in the crawling position and the other foot flat on the floor. Though atypical crawling won't assuredly cause issues in the future, you should encourage your baby to crawl the traditional manner. If you have concerns about your child's crawling, talk to your pediatrician who can refer you to a physical therapist if necessary.
You can encourage crawling by allowing him or her to play on the floor as much as possible. Start with tummy time several times a day beginning at two months old. Limit time in bouncers, exersaucers and swings. When your baby is on the floor, place his or her favorite toys just outside his reach to encourage your baby to pivot his or her body. Get down on the floor and play with your baby. Place your child on his or her stomach over your shin so that his or her hands and knees touch the floor, and rock back and forth. When your child is six or seven months old, encourage him or her to crawl by providing a play tunnel or open-ended boxes to crawl through.
If your baby skips crawling, he or she's not destined to have developmental or learning issues. Some babies don't crawl and meet all their future milestones. However, research indicates that it's in your child's best interest to crawl, so encourage it as much as you can.