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First Birthdays, First Steps

First birthdays, first steps: Most new parents think these milestones go together, but when your tot will toddle is a secret even she doesn't know. Twelve months of age is about average, but two months before or after is just as typical, notes University of Kentucky pediatrician and mom Carol Steltenkamp, M.D. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics considers the developmental window for walking to be from 9 to 18 months. Below, some clues to help you know when to cue up the video camera.

Don't Count On Crawling. Many babies crawl before they walk, but not all. What's important: She's rolling, scooting, crab- walking, or using her arms and legs in some way to get around.

Cruise Control Isn't Just for Cars. Maneuvering around by holding on to furniture is a confidence builder and a big hint that those first hands-free steps may be imminent. Then again, some babies cruise for months before getting up the nerve to let go.

Size Doesn't Matter. Whether your infant is big or little doesn't have much to do with when she'll walk; it's the activity level and a curious, go-get-'em personality that most likely inspire solo steps.

Older Siblings May Speed Things Up. Trying to keep up with big brothers and sisters is a major motivator, notes Dr. Steltenkamp.