My kids only have eyes for light-up shoes when we go shopping; they literally have refused to try on any sneakers or sandals without this special effect. That's why photos Reddit user Jovianflower posted of her toddler son's "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" kicks after they caught on fire made me sick to my stomach.
You can barely tell the images of the charred remains were ever shoes; it's just the content of the post that gives it away: "My son's light-up shoes started a fire in my car. Has anyone else had this happen or has heard of this happening?!"
Since posting her thread, this mom's story was picked up by a local news station. "As soon as we opened up the car door, we could smell the burning plastic," Jovan Virag told KHOU11, adding "I'm just glad that my son wasn't wearing them at the time. I don't know if he could have told me his foot was hot, and I don't think he could have taken it off by himself."
The fire caused by Virag's toddler's shoes, which were purchased at Payless, was so intense that the back seat of the family's car was actually burned. Um, am I the only parent who is stunned by this?
Cam Cope, president of Auto Fire and Safety Consultants, explains: "Even though it's a small battery, it still has enough energy to create a fire." He adds, "Sometimes the child may not notice the heat in them. If you put your fingers in them you can sometimes feel the heat is there. It will heat up for some time before it ignites."
Cope recommends checking your child's shoes often for overheating and never leaving them in a car. How about just not buying light-up shoes anymore? The risk hardly seems worth the joy my kids get out of watching their feet light up when they walk. I'm actually quite concerned that my second-grader is wearing light-up sneakers at school right now as I write this!
For their part, Payless released the following statement regarding this terrifying incident: "First and foremost, safety is always a top priority at Payless and we take the claim made by the customer seriously. We have contacted the family, and we will work with them and local authorities to better understand the circumstances of the car fire and what may have caused it."
Will you allow your child to wear light-up shoes after reading about this incident?
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.