Shoe Laces or Velcro Straps: Which Shoes Are Best for Children?
As a member of the older generation I have always been a strong supporter of shoe laces. I'm a teacher and I remember the days when we had wooden shoe shapes in our classroom to help children tie their shoes. When Velcro straps started becoming fashionable they drove me, along with most other teachers, crazy. Children sat and ripped apart and rejoined Velcro straps constantly, paying little attention to what was happening in class. I was completely against Velcro straps.
However, I’ve had a change of heart. And that change has everything to do with the safety of children. There seems to have been a return to manufacturing children’s shoes with laces. At first I thought this was great. I hadn’t counted on the lack of parental input required to teach children how to tie their laces. Nor had I considered what would happen if children were given lace up shoes but couldn’t handle laces.
A typical problem is that parents tie the children’s laces in the morning, usually with a double bow. But they forget that children often take their shoes off during a school day. It's easiest to pull them off without untying the knots, or ask the teacher for help. Whichever way, they can’t tie them up once they put them back on. Teachers are busy people and can’t spend time tying the laces of all the children in their care.
This often results in children running around with untied laces flapping in the wind. It isn’t long before the laces slip under the next step the child takes, resulting in the child taking a bad tumble.
This is a potentially dangerous situation. If children are on climbing equipment in the playground with untied laces, they can take a nasty fall to the ground. If they trip on their laces when crossing the road, an oncoming car may not stop in time. Also, if shoes are not tied properly, they may fall off at inappropriate times, again putting the child in danger.
Consequently, I have become a convert to Velcro strap shoes for children. They may be annoying at first, but children soon get over the novelty of undoing and doing up the straps. With Velcro straps shoes are firmly fixed on children’s feet. The shoes can be taken off and put on again easily when needed, eliminating the dangerous scenario of untied laces.
If parents insist on buying lace up shoes for their children they need to spend the time teaching them how to tie the laces and untie them. This is a difficult task for young children and it takes time to learn this skill.
Until children are old enough to tie their own laces, or their parents are prepared to spend the time teaching them, I believe Velcro strap shoes are a far better option for young children.
This choice is nothing to do with fashion or the ease of taking the shoes on and off. It is all about keeping children safe from the danger of unnecessary falls.