There are plenty of people who refuse to walk around their house without slippers, and it’s not hard to see why. Besides being cozy and comfortable, slippers can offer more grip, keep your feet warm, and offer arch support, thereby improving posture and back pain.
But it’s not just adults that love slippers. There are tons of children’s pairs on the market, too, which can lead you to wonder at what age a child should start wearing slippers. The answer to this largely depends on your child’s needs and skill levels. If you want to buy your baby or toddler slippers, then know the following first.
When Toddlers Should Start Wearing Slippers
As with other types of shoes, your child isn’t likely to need slippers in their first year of life. The American Academy of Pediatrics explains that babies don’t need to wear shoes until they’re walking. Until then, they only need socks to keep their feet warm. Anything else is purely for aesthetics.
Even when your baby starts walking, that doesn’t necessarily mean they need a pair of slippers. When your baby is just learning to walk, it’s ideal for them to go barefoot. This gives them more grip, thereby making walking easier and falls less likely.
At this skill level, you should avoid letting your baby practice on any outdoor terrain that requires shoes (like gravel or cement). The harder the terrain is, the bigger the injury could be if the child falls. And if the ground is uneven, it heightens the risk of a tumble.
But if you’re indoors with slippery flooring (like laminate or tile), have your child wear slippers with a thin, flexible sole. Make sure it has a grip on the bottom to help them keep their balance. It should be flexible and lightweight, so it moves with them and doesn’t impede their walk.
Be Careful What Type Of Slippers You Choose
With so many types of slippers on the market, you may feel overwhelmed when considering what to buy for your child, and for good reason. Not every pair is made equally, and depending on your child’s skill levels and needs, what you want in a slipper can vary.
When shopping for slippers for your toddler, keep the following factors in mind:
Know the right size
If you put your toddler in a slipper that’s too big or small, it can raise the risk they’ll lose their footing and fall. But not only can improper fit lead to immediate injury, but it can also have long-term effects, such as foot misalignment or postural damage. Choose a slipper that’s 10 to 15 millimeters longer than your child’s foot.
Don’t choose slip-ons
When your toddler is learning to walk, they’re still going to be perfecting their balance and coordination. Slip-on slippers don’t often provide a lot of support. Since they can slip right on and off, it raises the risk your toddler will trip and tumble.
It’s best to look for a slipper that covers the entire foot and uses a strap or Velcro to ensure the child’s foot is comfortable in place.
Look for a slip-free sole
If your toddler will be practicing their walking on a slippery surface (like hardwood floors), then slippers with slip-free soles are a must. These types of slippers offer an extra grip on the bottom, which will help keep your child steady and prevent tumbles.
Breathable, flexible materials
The material is also important when choosing a child’s slipper. On the one hand, you want it to be breathable. Kids tend to get warmer (and their feet sweatier) as they play, especially if they’re active and on their feet. So, choosing a pair made from breathable material can help your child’s slippers have a longer life as well as keep them more comfortable at the moment.
Likewise, look for slippers that are flexible, lightweight, and move with your toddler. This will make it easier for them as they practice their walking. The comfier the slippers are, the more inclined they’ll be to keep them on.
Finally, it’s best to choose children’s slippers that are easy to wash, whenever possible. Even if you wash your floors religiously, your child’s footwear is likely still to get dirty over time. Remember, the younger the child, the more of a mess they create. Choosing a pair that can easily be thrown in the washing machine will save you the hassle and extend the life of the slippers.
For more information about your child’s footwear needs depending on their age, we encourage you to speak with a pediatrician.
Sources: Happiest Baby, Giesswein, Medium, Caring for Kids,