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On Call: Hand-me-Down Footwear

Q. Is it okay to save my toddler's shoes for his little brother? He grows out of them so quickly!

A.
That depends on how worn they are. I've passed along baby and some toddler shoes in my own family; as you've discovered, kids that age don't get much use out of their shoes, partially because their feet do grow so fast, but also because they can't run around very much at first anyway.

But if your older son's soles are broken-in quite a bit  -- and especially if he has a tendency to walk on the outside or inside of his foot  -- you should toss the shoes. They could be altered enough to put stress on his younger sibling's feet.

Because little kids do need shoes so often, I generally buy inexpensive ones, and I encourage my patients' families to do the same. They might not last very long  -- but, then, neither does a child's shoe size! (The only exception is if your child seems to have problems with his feet or with walking. If that's the case, he may need special shoes, and a chat with the pediatrician is in order.

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