Q IS IT SAFE FOR MY TODDLER TO WEAR SHOES THAT HAVE BEEN HANDED DOWN TO HER?
A EARLY CHILDHOOD HEALTH NURSE SHARON
DONALDSON SAYS: In the case of toddlers’ footwear, as long as the shoes are in good condition, haven’t been worn into a particular pattern and have a sturdy construction, they’re suitable to be handed down to be worn by another child. Usually toddler shoes have been worn for only a short period, and a small child will have made just a light imprint inside the shoe.
Still, podiatrists advise that some care should be taken in the use of second-hand shoes, which shouldn’t be out of shape or have worn-down heels. Some children have a tendency to walk on the inside or outside of their shoes, so check the outside of the shoes for wear. The heel counter – the part of the shoe that keeps the foot in at the heel – should be straight. Have a good look at the insoles and throw them away if you can see much wear or the imprints of feet. Shoes should fit properly and children should never be allowed to wear shoes they need to grow into, as it can cause foot and leg problems.
Young children learning to walk don’t really need shoes until they have been walking for a couple of months, and then it’s mainly to protect their feet from damage. It is, however, a good idea to let your child go barefoot regularly to help her develop balance, co-ordination and good posture. It’s also easier for children to learn to walk and run when they can feel what they’re touching with their feet.