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Baby Milestones 9 to 12 months: Frosty-Feet Fixes

Got cold feet about keeping your pre-walker barefoot? Although shoe- and sockless is best for babies learning to walk -- they can better feel the floor beneath them and practice balance -- you also want to keep those tootsies cozy in winter (as Grandma will no doubt remind you). Here, three solutions:

Socks with treads: Slip on a pair when your tot's hanging around indoors. The tread will give your baby traction and help prevent slips and falls.

Soft flexible booties: They're the going-out shoe of choice for pre-walkers (think brands like Robeez and Pedipeds). "As long as the booties you choose have room for your baby to wiggle his feet -- when he's wearing them, you should be able to fit your pinkie finger in the heel -- they won't hinder walking," says Susan Chacko, a physical therapist in White Plains, New York. They can also serve as an extra layer over socks on extra-chilly days.

Walking shoes: When your toddler starts to saunter down the driveway, it's time for real shoes. Have the salesperson size up both feet. Most of us have feet as much as half a size different; buy for the larger foot. Look for flexible shoes with grooved rubber soles (slick bottoms could result in more slips) and a square- or oval-shaped toe. High-top sneakers or soft-leather ankle boots are top picks.

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