High heels for babies?

Last updated 00:50 20/09/2008
SMH
NEVER TOO YOUNG: An Australian company is selling high heeled booties for babies.

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They might not be able to walk but babies, or at least their parents, can now buy their first pair of high heeled shoes.

Launched by two women in the United States earlier this year, the controversial high heeled booties are for children aged up to six months and sold online under the tag line of 'heelarious - her first high heels'.

Made from a soft material, the company's website states they are not intended to be walked in, rather are about harmless, laughter inducing fun.

Online gift site http://www.girlygadgets.com.au is selling the shoes in Australia and co-owner Belinda Coates said they were "selling like hotcakes".

She rejected criticism that the shoes were inappropriate.

"You can't walk in them," she said.

"They are for crawlers or babies in cribs. They are only tiny. They wouldn't fit a baby older than six months."

She said they had received hundreds of orders for the booties.

"It (the criticism) took us by surprise as they just make us smile and whatever makes you smile makes you happy," she said.

But Peter Wilson, associate professor in child psychology at RMIT University, said the booties could send a message to the community encouraging children to grow up too quickly.

"For the child at that age, they aren't going to be aware of those sorts of issues but I think the broader issue is the message it sends to the community about what's appropriate for children in terms of how they are developing," he said.

He said the shoes were part of a growing trend in marketing to extend products designed for adults to children.

"More broadly it is this notion that we are encouraging kids to grow up more quickly that they are developmentally able to," he said.

"They should be encouraged to explore and role play but not exposed to products that can bias their play or give them a sense that they have to be older than they are."

 

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