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Your child's first steps

Author: Canadian Living

Family

Your child's first steps

When to toe the line

Sometimes your joy over your child's first steps is tempered by your concern that her style is less than perfect. For the most part, parents shouldn't worry, say physical therapists from The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. When kids are learning to walk, they sometimes spread their feet wide apart or bend their knees. These styles usually correct themselves as children mature. Common walking style variants include the following.

Toeing in
Most kids outgrow this (possibly caused by an inborn twist of the foot or leg), but parents should discourage their child from toeing in with verbal cues and by rearranging the child if she's sitting on her feet (calves under thighs, tops of feet on the floor and curved inward).

Bowleggedness
Generally, this scenario reverses itself by age three, when the child becomes knock-kneed (a normal progression that children usually outgrow). But extremes of either of these should be discussed with the child's doctor.

Flatfeet
Most kids don't develop much of an arch until age six. It's not cause for concern unless they're in pain or can't keep up with activities.

Toe walking
All toddlers should outgrow toe walking tendencies by about 18 months of age. If your toddler doesn't, consult her doctor. To discourage toe walking, make sure that your child wears high-top shoes that don't bend easily in the middle.

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Your child's first steps

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