Every parent’s worst nightmare is that their child will experience pain or suffering, especially from something that should be completely safe. There are some things that we simply don’t expect to hurt us, like clothing, but that is merely a false sense of security. Such an event recently happened to Esmé Conner, a 2-year-old girl who received a pair of Next jelly sandals in size 5 as a birthday gift. The sandals, which are reminiscent of thinly-strapped Crocs for a toddler, appear benign enough, but they hide a cruel secret beneath their pink exterior. Lisa Conner, Esmé’s mother, claims that her daughter experienced deep cuts on her feet after wearing the sandals for less than half an hour. The abrasions on her feet were so severe that it caused excessive bleeding and rubbed away much of the skin directly beneath the sandals. All that pain was caused by a simple birthday gift, turning the toddler’s special day in a waking nightmare.
Several photos of the incident show the damage to the small child, which appears quite significant. Her parents claim she was absolute agony after only wearing the shoes for a short time. Blood crusted around the straps of the shoes, and the skin underneath was rubbed raw. When her parents went to remove the sandals, they had to be nearly peeled off due to the blood and the sensitivity of her ruined feet. You might expect that a toddler would have to be doing some serious activity to illicit such an effect, but Esmé was merely walking around the house as she usually did during the day. Her parents could not believe that such an innocent product designed for children could cause such damage.
Lisa felt the need to share her experience on Facebook, where she prompted other parents to avoid the Next shoes, and she posted the photos of her daughter’s injuries as proof of her claim. The shoes, which originally cost $12, were made by the Next company, which sells women’s shoes for all ages, primarily in the United Kingdom. Their products are available through their website internationally as well. Next has not yet issued a recall for these jelly sandals, but they have agreed to investigate the incident and the jelly sandals in particular. While this may seem like a prudent business strategy, it isn’t enough for Lisa and her daughter. Esmé is still unable to properly wear shoes days after the incident, and it may be weeks before she is completely healed. Any injury is severe for a 2-year-old, but something that prevents mobility in a toddler is horrible. She will most likely have blisters on her feet for weeks, and the discomfort alone will continue to traumatize her until she is better.
Lisa Conner has pleaded with the company to remove the jelly sandals from their shelves, since she wants to keep them from hurting any other children in the way her daughter experienced. She hopes that the story will be shared enough to create awareness of the issue, especially if Next decides to continue selling these sandals, which seems likely for the time being. Even if these sandals are deemed dangerous, it will take some time for a product recall to affect inventories on a street level. It is quite possible that others will experience the same pain before anything is actually done, but awareness of the problem is the first step to ensuring a solution. Share this story as much as you can, especially if you or anyone you know has small children that might suffer from wearing these Next jelly sandals.