Don’t Flip Flop on Foot Safety

More summer safety tips for au pairs and nannies.

Let’s continue to discuus the topic of summer safety that we started last week. Think of summer and you may invoke images of your charges wearing flip flops. Cool, easy-on and easy-off, flip flops are a favorite summer footwear. But should they be?

Flip flops certainly seem appropriate for use on the beach and at a pool. They protect the feet from hot sand and hot concrete. Plus, they are light, convenient, and easy to wash.

Except for those limited uses, other footwear is better for the active children. Flip flops provide poor arch support, can irritate the soles, and change the child’s walk, putting pressure on the back and hips.

Foot protection and foot safety are vital aspects of summer safety. Children cannot safely run on a playground in flip flops. Not only do wood chips hurt their exposed feet, they are more likely to trip while climbing and getting off the playground equipment.

Flip flops are impractical for hiking in the woods. Not only are children more likely to trip and twist an ankle in flip flops, they provide little (if any) traction on slippery surfaces and provide no protection from bugs and scraps and scratches from twigs and branches. Flip flops do not protect the feet from irritations like poison ivy commonly found in the woods.

Making sure play shoes are properly fitted are a given. Attention should also be given to the socks. Modern synthetic fibers provide comfort and wick moisture away from the feet. Keeping the feet dry keeps the feet cooler and helps prevent athlete’s foot, a fungal infection.

You must meticulously clean and dry your charges’ feet at least once a day. Make sure the nails are trimmed and that there is no fungus or discolored nails. Be alert for injuries, abrasions, blisters, calluses, or corns.

When you chase those kids, be sure they are running on healthy feet.

Do your charges wear flip flops? Have they had any issues with shoes during the summer?


  1. The mother leaves out the clothes she would like the kids to wear each morning. This spring she always has been leaving out sandals. But everyday we go to the park. Twigs, dirt, and wood chips get in his sandals and he complains. So I started putting on socks with the sandals. Mom came home and thought he looked like a hippie so now she has bought him a pair of sneakers just for the park and playground. 🙂

  2. On of the children I care for has the smelliest feet. People ask if he someone brought dog poo into the house. I spray Lysol and sprinkle powder in his socks and shoes. I don't think I can do more than bathe him and wash the shoes as often as possible. Ugh!

  3. I personally hate that the kids wear crocs. How can they be good for support? Unless on the beach or at the pool I do not think kids should wear crocs.

  4. Hey Steph,I did not get "operation aborted" when I tried posting this time. Yea!I agree that crocs and flip flops are merely suitable for the pool and beach. Very convenient when around water. But for all other activities wear supportive shoes.Melissa,Glen Ridge NJ

  5. Plus, crocs are so ugly!!

  6. Oh I hate flip flops and crocs. The kids trip more and get more cuts from flip flops. But, I don't think nannies or au pairs should consider telling parents not to buy them. But when they hurt their feet attend to them as advised in the article is good advice.Melinda, DC Nanny

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