No Shoes, No Service....Even For Babies?

Babies should not wear shoes until they walk It's a familiar sign, especially on fast food restaurant doors: "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service (No Kidding)." Well in a Burger King in Sunset Hills, MO they certainly weren't kidding! A mother was threatened with the police being called because she did had no shoes on her 6 month old baby. At six months old, of course, the baby is certainly not walking and likely not crawling. Even if she was, I suspect that her mom wouldn't have her crawling around the dirty floors of the restaurant.

I hope that everyone reading this already realizes how ridiculous this is! The reason shoes are required in restaurants is not because of a health code, but rather to limit the establishment's liability in case something is stepped on. Certainly shoes are dirtier than bare feet! And flip flops are permissible, so the exposure of a foot can't be the issue.

The baby's mom is absolutely correct. She stated in the St. Louis Fox Station's report, that the baby didn't even own shoes. At six month's old, I should hope not! Baby's at that age developmentally need access to their feet. Plus, as the baby is learning to stand, cruise, and walk, she will need the sensitivity of the soles of her feet to provide feedback to learn how to balance. At most, the baby can wear socks or very soft booties.

Once her baby starts to walk unassisted, shoes can then be used. When they are, however, they must still have a very flexible sole to allow for proper function of the foot. So, to answer a very common question, there is no age at which a child should start wearing shoes. It all depends on the baby, when she starts to walk, and the developmental milestones. Even if they are the cutest shoes, and they match the outfit perfectly, keep them off the baby. She'll have plenty of time for shoes once she's walking.
Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
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