Baby’s first steps

A baby's first shoes can be cloth to give them protection, but in general should fit baby’s foot well and bend as needed.

Baby shoes (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Baby shoes
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
My daughter – my first child – has started walking only at 15 months, even though she is very well developed and healthy and speaks sentences. The doctor assured me that there was no physical problem; she was just “afraid” to walk without holding on.
My mother always told me that when I started to walk, upon advice from her tipat halav (well-baby clinic) doctor, she bought very expensive leather shoes called “First Step.” They were two small in a few months, so she had them bronzed and put them on a shelf.
What kind of first shoes – for the summer – are recommended for children – sneakers? Sandals? Leather? Cloth? Can babies wear light cloth shoes before they’re walking? My daughter’s pediatrician advised not putting her in shoes until she walks. What about secondhand shoes handed down to siblings?
T.S., Tel Aviv
Nili Arbel, head of the physiotherapy institute at the Schneider Children’s Medical Center for Israel in Petah Tikva, answers: The recommendation of orthopedists, pediatricians and of course shoe stores (who have a lot to gain) to buy First Step shoes – which were heavy and not flexible – was mistaken. Today, we know that babies’ first shoes should be high (to the ankle), light and flexible and not open in the back with only a strap holding the foot inside. There is no need that they be made of leather; they can be sneakers or sandals made from cloth and rubber.
The main thing is that the shoe should hold the baby’s foot well and bend as needed and that it protect the foot from harm. Open-backed shoes or sandals with straps can be worn over the age of two.
Before a baby starts walking, one can give them light cloth shoes as they hold on to things and make their way about.
Babies can go barefoot indoors during the warm months. Outdoors, babies can walk barefoot on sand (if it isn’t hot), but one must be careful that there is no glass, stones or other things that could hurt the foot.
During the second year of life, one has to buy new shoes once or twice. When you purchase them, there should be the width of an adult finger between the end of the big toe and the end of the shoe or sandal, and socks should be pulled up because at this age, babies tend to “claw” their toes.
As for secondhand shoes, a child can wear them if they’re in good shape without them leaning to one side or another.
I am 42 and love reading print newspapers, especially over the weekend. But for the last five years, I have noticed that I have a mild allergic reaction when I touch the paper. The symptoms are runny nose, itchy nose, a burning sensation in my eyes and sometimes even difficulty breathing. I try to wash my hands after reading the paper and wearing latex gloves while reading it, and this eases the problem but does not eliminate it completely.
What is it that causes the allergy? Is there anything I can do besides reading on the computer the electronic edition (but I don’t use the computer on Shabbat).
Are there any pills or shots for this?
V.P., Beit Shemesh
Prof. Meir Shalit, head of the allergy unit at the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem, replies:
There are rare cases of allergies to newspapers or ink that cause itching and eczema on the palms of the hand that hold the paper. The person is sensitive to some of the many chemicals used to process the paper or to the ink. It can also affect the eyes and nose, but these are very rare.
One can wear gloves while reading the paper, but don’t use latex, as people who are allergic to newsprint may be allergic to latex as well. You could also consider taking an antihistamine prescribed by your doctor about three hours before reading the paper or put the paper on a stand of some kind.
I wonder whether you are allergic to books as well.
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