In the spring, summer, and fall, our kids wear shoes only when we leave home. When one neighbor saw my children barefooted in March, she politely informed me that her mother's rule was that the children had to wear shoes until they saw the first butterfly of the season. My kids just moaned when I made that proposal.
Marathon and I moaned this morning when we were talking about the influx of felines we've seen in the neighborhood lately. They seem to be everywhere, often in our yard. Thankfully cats generally bury their droppings (although we've seen some break that stereotype around here), but dogs are happy to leave it behind completely exposed to my children's bare feet. Should we be concerned about the possibility of them catching a disease or parasite if they come in contact with feces on the ground?
I still remember those earth science classes in 4th grade when I first learned about hookworms. I still cringe when I walk on damp grass barefooted. I hope I can get over it one of these days and actually enjoy being barefooted in morning dew.
Here's what I've learned:
- Hookworms are mainly a problem in 3rd world countries where sanitation is very poor. The chances of a child in the US at this point in history getting hookworms is very unlikely. Possible? yes. Likely? no.
- If a child has an open wound, they are a risk of contracting bacteria from feces. So, protect cuts & scrapes.
- There are no dangers to stepping in urine.
- If you step in doo, clean your foot. You don't want to leave it there and give parasites time to penetrate the skin. At least you can clean feet really well, unlike small, deep treads on some shoes that might bring the mess in the house, and that you'll continue to handle whenever putting on your shoes. Ick!
Unless I learn something more alarming, I plan to keep the romance...let the kids stay barefooted, and let the toes breathe. - milkmaid