You need to consider several safety issues when you send your children off to school. Sunscreen for recess and a sturdy backpack for their shoulders and spine are big ones, but the shoes your child wears to school are also an important aspect of their safety. Not all shoes are appropriate for the activities your child does at school and the wrong choice could result in an injury or having to sit out.
Even if your child loves the latest ballet flats or the brightly colored clogs that her friends wear, they might not be a good choice for school. Thin shoes don't offer much support or warmth and clogs can be clunky, which could trip your child as she walks down the hall or out on the playground. Sandals, flip-flops or shoes with open toes or backs are not safe either, especially when your child plays at recess. Your child could hurt her feet walking around the school and if she drops her backpack or a heavy book on her foot, she could get hurt. The safest shoe for your child to wear to school is a sturdy pair of tennis shoes that have good traction and don't have long laces, according to the National Network for Child Care.
If your child's shoes don't fit properly, she could get tripped up and fall down. Shoes that are too tight can restrict movement and shoes that are too big can get in the way when your child walks from class to class. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends finding a pair of shoes with a wide toe box so your child can move the ends of her feet and has room to grow a little bit. Look for shoes that are low-cut in the ankle area, which don't interfere with proper development in the feet. Many shoe stores can size your child's foot so you can find the perfect fit.
Some schools don't have strict rules regarding foot wear, so you might be tempted to just let your child wear her sandals so you don't have to battle about it. This might not be a safe choice, though, because some activities require shoes with more support. If your child has gym class, plays sports after school or climbs the playground at recess, she needs shoes that keep her from slipping and shoes that support her feet as she moves around.
When you choose safe shoes for your child to wear to school, bring socks with you. This helps you get a proper fit for normal wearing circumstances. Always bring your child with you when you shop for shoes because different brands fit differently so you might buy a pair that doesn't work even if you think they're the right size. Avoid shoes with high heels because they aren't safe for children. If your child plays sports or dances at school, look for shoes that are designed for those activities.
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images