In the present experiment, we used a deferred imitation paradigm to explore the effect of crawling on memory retrieval by 9-month-old human infants. Infants observed an experimenter demonstrate a single target action with a novel object and their ability to reproduce that action was assessed after a 24-hr delay. Some infants were tested with the demonstration stimulus in the demonstration context and some infants were tested with a different stimulus in a different context. Half of the infants in each test condition were crawling at the time of participation and half were not. Both crawling and non-crawling infants exhibited retention when tested with the demonstration stimulus in the demonstration context, but only infants who were crawling by 9 months of age exhibited retention when tested with a different stimulus in a different context. These findings demonstrate that the onset of independent locomotion is associated with more flexible memory retrieval during the first year of life. © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.