Flip-flops seem to be a kid’s best friend in the summer months. They’re easily available, easy to wear and they come in a variety of colors. Flip-flops provide sweet memories of sandy toes and lazy days on the beach. But, they also provide little arch or heel support and cause a lot of accidents.
27,000 emergency room visits were associated with flip-flop related injuries in 2016, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission on Emergency Room visits. Some of the most common injuries include torn toenail beds or toe fractures and ankle sprains or fractures.
How to prevent injuries from wearing flip-flops
Don’t get us wrong – we aren’t trying to get you to banish your child’s favorite pair of flip-flops to the back of the closet. Although they may be a podiatrist’s worst nightmare, they aren’t our worst nemesis.
But to keep your child’s feet happy and healthy, keep in mind these suggestions:
- Choose a sturdy flip-flop
A cheap rubber flip-flop is probably not the best fit for your child. Try to help them find a flip-flop with a thick, firm, inflexible sole to provide maximum support. As a general rule of thumb, a sturdy shoe shouldn’t be able to fold in half.
- Consider a back strap
A back strap on the end of the flip-flop can help the shoe have more stability. Adding a back strap can provide a better fit while decreasing muscle stress and toe scrunching while walking.
- Avoid certain activities
If your child wants to go on a bike ride, run around outside or participate in any backyard sport, make sure they ditch the flip-flops for a more supportive shoe.
- Flip-flops and gas pedals don’t mix
Moms and dads, this advice is for you and your teenage drivers! Avoid driving with flip-flops because they can slip off and get wedged under the accelerator or brake pedal, causing a fender-bender or worse.
- Replace your flip-flops
Consider picking up a new pair of flip-flops every couple of months. Even if you’ve only had the pair for a few weeks, replace them if they look worn out. We promise it’s worth a few extra dollars to prevent injury!
“Flip-flops are good to wear at the beach, around swimming pools, in showers and locker rooms at the gym, or on short trips to the store. But for the sake of your child’s feet, limit them treating these shoes as a substitute for gym shoes.” – Dr. Ronna Schneider