A new trend in young girls' fashion is raising some eyebrows: padded bras in sizes that would fit some Kindergarten students.
They're mini versions of something one may expect to find in the women's lingerie department, but they’re located in the girls department, sizes 4-6x.
NBC 7 became aware of the issue through a Facebook post. A mom posted a photo showing shelves of padded bras in local department stores sold in very small sizes.
The post triggered a lot of discussion. Local moms have mixed opinions.
Amy Yates said she's concerned these bras could send the wrong message to her twins.
"It's hard enough being a young girl developing early, maybe before you're emotionally ready for it and then dealing with seeing things like padded bras," she said. "That's sexualizing children way too early. My girls are very interested in things like origami and Pokémon at their age, they're nine. They' don't need to go to the store and see bras that are lacy and sexy and marketed toward them because they're going to think gee is this what I'm supposed to be into right now?"
Dr. Lisa Johnston is an OB-GYN at Sharp Reese Steely and a mom of three young girls. She said in some cases girls are developing as young as seven-years-old and a little extra padding may lead to more self-confidence.
"So, we definitely see it on the medical front that girls are going through puberty at a younger age," Johnston said. "I think when kids are going through puberty they're often very insecure and being proud of their body doesn't mean showing off their body."
NBC 7 reached out to Hanes/Maidenform, about the issue. The company sent a statement that said, "the Maidenform bras developed for girls are not meant to 'enhance' a girl's figure. The 'padding' is thin stretch foam and is designed to provide modesty over figure enhancement." Hanes/Maidenform is not the only company that sells this type of merchandise.
Yates and Johnston told NBC 7 there's a line between sexual and functional and deciding what's appropriate should be a discussion between parents and their daughters.
"The bras that are made so that girls can feel a little more comfortable about themselves and maybe do sports a little bit better and the bras that make them look sexy which at their age are completely inappropriate," Yates said.
"Trying to support your daughters and being comfortable in their own skin is an important thing and a lot of girls at that age probably do want to have a little bit of coverage and there's nothing wrong with that," Johnston said.
Get involved in the discussion on NBC 7's Facebook page.