Keep Baby’s Feet Safe as They Grow
Kids’ feet grow fast! Although each child hits their growth spurts at different times and different rates, based on size and fit alone you can expect to be replacing shoes as often as four times per year during the infant and toddler stages of life. In fact, by the time your child is just 1 year old, their feet may already have reached half their adult length!
Because of this rapid growth, and also because bones are still very soft and flexible, it’s important to keep your little one’s feet safe, protected, and unencumbered during this critical period of development.
Guidelines for Baby Foot Care
Childhood foot deformities like clubfoot, extra toes, webbed toes, or feet that point in or out are a lot more common than you might think! Fortunately, with proper treatment, kids can avoid any serious long-term repercussions from these conditions. Schedule an appointment with our team as soon as possible for an examination.
Shoes are usually not necessary for infants. Before your child starts walking, putting them in shoes doesn’t really offer any benefits. In fact, they can actually impair or obstruct normal foot development, especially if they’re too tight.
Even once they begin to walk indoors, it’s still better to let them do this barefoot, as this helps baby learn proper balance and coordination and develop their muscles, ligaments, and arch strength. Your infant or young child only needs shoes once he or she has a few months of experience and confidence walking indoors, and then again only to protect their feet when walking outdoors.
Avoid restrictive socks as well. In truth, most of the time, babies can go barefoot. However, loose-fitting socks or booties will help keep feet warm at night or in cooler temperatures. Cotton is a good material to choose here, and you should check the socks regularly to make sure they’re big enough to let feet flex and toes wiggle. Even bedsheets, sleepsuits, or other coverings for legs and feet should be loose. Tucking a baby in so tightly that feet and toes can’t flex can be bad for development.
Wash baby’s feet thoroughly using gentle soap and water. Make sure they are dried thoroughly as well. When you cut their toenails, go straight across rather than in a curve, and gently file down sharp edges as necessary. This helps prevent the formation of ingrown nails.
We’re sure that, with your attentive care and careful observation, your baby’s feet will grow healthy and strong! If you do notice any problems—deformities, blisters, warts, pain, etc.—give Mission Viejo’s pediatric foot care experts a call. You can reach us at (949) 364-9255.