Whoever has spent any time with toddlers knows that standing and walking are made possible long before steering and braking. Much more impressive than this fact is, inability to walk is the ability of toddlers to take a licking and keep on ticking. Arguably, knees generally take the brunt of the damage when it comes to toddling. And they also seem designed for it. Baby’s knees are soft, almost undefinable and feel rubbery to the touch.
Do Infants Have Kneecaps When They Are Born
Most people think that babies are born without kneecaps but that is incorrect. New-borns are born with kneecaps that are made of soft cartilage. Later on, as they grow and their bone structure develops, ossification takes place and it turns hard. The common misconception drawn about babies not having kneecaps from the fact that when an x-ray is taken of a new born or infants knees, the kneecap is invisible as it is made up of cartilage, not bones. And thus the belief persists.
When the Kneecaps of a Baby Develop
The development of a babies kneecaps start in the mother’s womb itself when she is about four months of pregnancy. During the formative years of a baby, it is made up of cartilage. When the baby is about 3 to 5 years old, the process of ossification starts. The cartilaginous patella or kneecap starts developing into a bony structure. The development of the kneecap then continues throughout the infant stage until the baby is about 10-12 years of age, until the cartilage gives way to a bony one. However, even at this stage, the kneecap does have some bit of cartilage and it continues to develop throughout her adolescent years. Once the bone fully expands, it develops into a fully grown kneecap.
Is There Any Way to Protect a baby’s Kneecaps?
The cartilage in the knee is the reason why without any pain babies can crawl so well. Because it acts as a cushion because of its softness. Though, crawling around can cause external bruises to the baby’s knees. A rough patch or small particles of sand or mud on the floor that comes from outside are some of the ways in which the baby’s knees may get bruised. So what should anyone do to protect her baby’s knees? One can make her wear knee protectors. These baby knee protectors are strips of soft cloth with cushions in the knee area, which are available online or on stores. Tie them around child’s knees and now can let her crawl around without any worry. If anyone have time and energy, she can also make it at home with a soft, with a cotton sari.
So now the fact is explained that new-borns are not born with kneecaps but with underdeveloped cartilaginous. However, for one’s baby’s cartilage to grow into a strong, bony kneecap, she must make sure that her diet is rich in calcium to enrich and have healthy bones. Proper calcium intake will not just help in the proper formation of kneecaps in babies but also help in the development of her overall bone health.