When taking toddlers and babies out for a walk, keep in mind that there’s more to keeping their feet safe and comfortable than just buying the first pair of shiny new shoes that tickles your fancy.
(Image via Fine Art America – 1888 (oil on canvas) by George Hall Neale 1863-1940)
Would you buy the Lord of the Rings Omnibus for your child if the kid is still struggling with ABCs? Of course not, right? You’d be thinking ‘What’s the use?’ Well, the same thing goes for a pair of shoes for a new born baby. You should only buy shoes for your child when they’re needed.
The protective fatty mass that surrounds the foot of any new born baby only starts to disappear when the child starts to walk. And even when the baby starts to walk, it is highly recommended that shoes are only worn outdoors, since walking barefoot is the best way for a first time walker to have healthy arches and strong ankles – “The best shoes of a new walker are no shoes.”
Experts agree that the feet, like hands, develop best when they are bare, not covered and confined. Walking barefoot helps in building arches and strengthening ankles. It is therefore far more important to keep a clean floor and environment – free of harmful objects with sharp, cutting or pointed edges – where the baby can walk and take their first steps safely without a fancy pair of shoes.
Buying shoes is not the only way to keep your new-born’s gentle feet safe. It’s better to always be mindful of the baby’s development and adapt the environment and diet accordingly; it’s all about enhancing their mobile experience.
***Article by Azral Hanan via Rosa Maria Galvan Martinez in collaboration with Dr. Dinesh Ganeswaran***
Other tips to consider when buying the first pair of shoes for a first time walker are:
• Get shoes that feature flexible soles at the front part of each shoe.
• Get shoes that feature flat anti-slippery bottoms.
• Get firm counter and padded shoes.
• Avoid high booties (since confining shoes prevent proper and free ankle movement). Avoid plastic (since plastic is stiff and is non- breathable).
• Avoid shoes that are too small or too big no matter how cute the design is (since they don´t provide the proper support for growing feet, don´t provide stability to the foot when walking and can certainly cause accidents).
• Avoid passing shoes that have been outgrown from one child to another for first time walkers. We know it can be an expensive practice, but shoes are molded by the bearer and to make a first timer use previously molded shoes is just as bad as giving your child an unwashed spoon that was previously licked by a stranger. It’s always good to remember that baby´s feet can change sizes due to growth between the ages of six weeks to three months (in most cases).
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BY KENNETH LIM