Help Your Child Avoid Accidents with the Right Shoe

By Mary Ellen Ostrander

Carrie Bradshaw may have been able to skip down sidewalks or up stairs wearing her mile-high Manolas. School children, however, are prone to accidents when they come to school in footwear that may be stylish but is inappropriate, even dangerous.

Some popular shoes for young girls—ballet slippers, flip-flops, and certain styles of Crocs—are hip and cute. These styles, however, do not offer the support and traction needed to navigate crowded school hallways and stairs. Often the result is a fall and a visit to the school nurse, even a trip to the emergency room.

Some accidents, of course, are unavoidable. Outfitting your child with the right footwear will, hopefully, help her to walk, stay on her feet, and avoid injury. Keep in mind that school is, in reality, a workplace and wearing the proper clothing is important. So when you go shopping for school shoes, think about safety. Work with your child. She may want that fancy shoe all the other girls are wearing. Many safe shoes are also stylish. And, who knows? She may start a new trend among her friends.

Choosing a shoe that is slip resistant is a must. Some major national brands now offering slip resistant shoes include Skechers, Rockport, and New Balance. Sending a child to school in sneakers will help your child be safe and promote a healthy lifestyle. Ask the salesperson about other recommendations.

Even one accident can keep your child out of class and away from extracurricular activities, like sports, for a long time. Besides losing time and momentum, suffering an injury may impact your child’s ability to concentrate on schoolwork, whether at home or in class. Don’t forget the cost. A trip to the doctor’s office or hospital, that could have been avoided, will cost you financially, as well as emotionally.

Ask your school to review safety on stairways, including these reminders:
—Hold the railing.
—Watch backpacks, particularly those with wheels that cold create a hazard for others.
—A “No Running” policy on stairways and in hallways.
—Clear play areas of snow, water, leaves, or anything that could lead to slips and falls.
—Place thick mats on entrances and exits, as well as on stair landings.
—Place slip-resistant strips on stairs.
—Promote a school safety program with students submitting posters, songs, videos, or essays on how to prevent slips and falls.

Mary Ellen Ostrander, R.N., is a school nurse in Brooklyn.