atie Holmes — under fire for repeatedly allowing her three-year-old daughter Suri to don kitten-heeled shoes — recently defended the controversial footwear decision while attending a Los Angeles event for the Dizzy Feet Foundation, an organization devoted to helping underprivileged children dance. While Holmes says the shoes, beloved by Suri, are specially designed toddler dancewear with built-in support, doctors have weighed in with medical concerns. Is Holmes being irresponsible?
At Suri's age, wearing heels can damage physical development: If worn too often, high heels can tighten or shorten the Achilles tendon, says New York podiatrist Dr. Oliver Zong, as quoted in Fox News. "Children are growing quickly, and…if the tendon is not growing at the same rate as everything else, it could become a problem." What's more, if Suri's foot shape changes—which can happen to toddler feet "in just one month"—her favorite heels "could damage the growth of her feet."
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Heels are just too unstable for little kids: "Toddlers and heels go together like…well, copious amounts of booze and Tylenol PM—they don't," says parenting blog Babble.com. "Hobble on, Suri. See you in the ER."
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Give Holmes a break: Why are we so quick to dismiss Holmes' explanation, asks Marissa Gold on Stylist.com. A known dance enthusiast and guest star on "So You Think You Can Dance?" Holmes has taken the time to explain that what seem like flimsy kitten heels are "actually ballroom dancing shoes for kids." How can we criticize Suri for simply wanting "shoes like mommy's?"
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Suri's "love" for the shoes is irrelevant: "Kids love a lot of things," says Tim Kenneally at Celebuzz.com, like "ice cream for breakfast" and "shoving crayons deep into their ear canals." That doesn’t mean parents should "encourage such tendencies."
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