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By Michael MacLeod

PARENTS have criticised retailers for selling two-inch high heels for girls as young as three.

The trend was sparked after Tom Cruise and wife Katie dressed their three year-old daughter Suri in the shoes.

Health experts warn they can damage youngsters’ feet, cause lower back pain and arthritis.

Shops including GapKids, Asda and Next are under fire from parents group Mumsnet, whose members described the range as “more suited to a lap-dancing club than the feet of a young girl.”

The group’s spokesperson Justine Roberts said: “Some of the shoes I’ve seen on sale look more suited to a lap-dancing club than the feet of a young girl.”

A spokeswoman for another parent group, Netmums, said they feared kids’ high heels would result in the “sexualisation” of children.

Nicola Lamond said: “I went shopping with my daughter and was horrified by how many shoes came with a high heel in sizes to fit girls as young as three.

“These shoes will be harder to walk in than flat shoes so I’d be worried my child would injure themselves.

“A lot of our mums are also concerned with the sexualisation of children and these shoes will do nothing to allay those fears.”

Podiatrist Gregor McCoshim says high heels on young girls are “disturbing”.

He said: “The fact children can wear these is worrying.

“Any heel above 2cm increases the risk of twisting you ankle.

“If kids do that it makes them more likely to suffers a similar injury again.

“Repeated injuries can make them more likely to develop arthritis.”

Sammy Margo of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy said putting a child into even slightly higher shoes shortens calf muscles while lengthening others.

She said: “They also have to arch their lower back more.

“This can cause strains in their back which is a potential problem for their growth and development.”

A Next spokesperson said: “Their popularity suggests many parents agree we’ve come up with a look that’s special without seeming inappropriately grown up.”

Asda said they had no customer complaints about the heel size on any of their children’s shoes.

And GapKids said their child high heels had been tested to ensure safety.