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Children and Feet

General information for the parent

The first year in a person's life is important for foot development. Parents should cover their babies' feet loosely, allowing plenty of opportunity for kicking and exercise. The child's position should be changed several times. Staying too long on the stomach can strain the feet.

Children generally walk between 10 and 18 months; they should not be forced to start walking early. Wearing just socks or going barefoot indoors helps the foot develop normally and strongly and allows the toes to grasp. Going barefoot outside, however, increases the risk for injury and other conditions, such as plantar warts.

When outdoors, children should wear shoes that are light, flexible, and made of natural materials that "breathe." (Children's feet perspire greatly.)

Footwear should be changed every few months as the child's feet grow. Footwear should never be handed down. High impact sports can injure growing feet, and parents should be sure that their children's feet are protected if they engage in intensive athletics.

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Children and Feet