Are you as obsessed with  Shark Week on Discovery Channel  as I am? I so look forward to this annual staple that it's got me thinking, prematurely, about beaches, oceans and...what else, the safety of your children's feet?

You see, beach and pool visits can be super scary, even if you don't need to worry about an errant shark attack. 

As soon as you hit the pool deck, what does your child want to do? Throw off their shoes and hit the sand or water, right? While I understand this instinct as a parent, as a podiatrist, I know too well the risks associated with going barefoot by the pool or ocean. 

The Pool: A Hotbed of Foot Fungi

The pool is a treat, but you need to protect kids feet from germs on the pool deckNot to be a party pooper, but think about all the things that float in the pool. I mean, the kiddie pool alone is about 90% urine, right? Now, think about all the dirt and germs on kids' feet. And NOW, think about all those yucky factors traveling across the pool deck, spreading with the help of all that errant water. Not a pretty picture, right? 

While in the water, at least, chlorine can help kill a lot of the problems, but on the deck itself, the chlorine is diluted or non-existent. This means that bare feet are vulnerable to infections, warts and common fungi like Athlete's foot. Do yourself and your children a favor: keep shoes on their feet until the very moment they step into the water. This same rule applies to the locker room and showers where you change after a swim. Shower shoes are a must in any public venue like a pool. 

After the Shower: There's Still Trouble in the Water

Now that I've convinced you to keep shoes on your kids feet until they hit the water, let's talk about what happens after they get out of the water. Now that I've freaked you out about letting kids feet touch shared surfaces like pool decks or locker room floors, you may be tempted to rush them into socks and shoes as soon as their swim or shower is over. 

Here's the problem, however: if you put socks on your children before their feet are fully dried, you're creating a war, moist environment that's ripe for fungal development. And, just like that, we're back to talking about Athlete's foot! Can you believe we've come full circle? 

Fortunately, this one is an easy fix. Sit your child on a bench and dry their feet fully, making sure to get in between their toes (a favorite spot for foot fungus to develop.) Once their feet are fully dried, you can help get socks and shoes on, all without having their bare feet touch that scary ground. Problem: solved.

Now, for the fun: that Shark Week-inspired craft I promised to deliver earlier in this post. 

Footprint Shark Craft

With all the scary stuff that can happen to kids feet, this cute shark project from Glued to My Crafts should be a walk in the park. Enjoy and come see me for any concerns about your kids growing feet!

Chomp! This foot print shark craft may keep you out of the water for a while * Gray or white/black to mix
* Blue paint
* Paint brushes/paper plate
* Wiggle Eyes
* Glue
* Blue Construction paper
* Black Sharpie
* Tons of baby wipes on hand


1.     To start off, paint some blue waves on the construction paper to add some depth.

2.     Next, make gray paint by mixing a little black paint with a ton of white paint.

3.     Now, paint your little one’s foot and press down onto the paper (here’s where the baby wipes will come in handy.)

4.     To finish off the sharks, paint on some triangles for the fins, glue on the wiggle eye and draw on teeth with the Sharpie. You can add other marine life to your liking, then date the picture to record this fleeting moment in your child’s footprint-life. Let dry, frame and enjoy!


Dr. Andrew Schneider
Connect with me
A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.