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The scary little danger that could be hiding in your baby’s clothes

Babies fuss for a variety of reasons — mainly because they’re babies. But sometimes when the cries just won’t stop, there’s a serious reason they can’t be soothed. Scott Walker of Wichita, Kansas, recently discovered the frightening cause of his baby daughter Molly’s cries when she got so worked up she started to overheat. 

In a Facebook post he shared to warn other parents, he described how they were out to lunch and how Molly wouldn’t stop crying. When they removed her socks to cool her down, they saw that something was wrong with her toe. The cause: a hair tourniquet, or in simpler terms, a hair wrapped around her toe that was cutting off the circulation and cutting through her toe.

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It’s easy to see how this can happen, as new moms typically shed a lot of hair. The hair can get stuck inside socks, the toes of sleepers and other clothing, and then get wrapped around little body parts. The hairs are so fine often no one notices until they see swelling or other complications. It most typically happens around the fingers and toes of infants, but it can happen to any body part, including genitals.

Most of the time a parent can just remove the hair, but sometimes surgery is required. In extreme cases, amputation may be necessary.

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While it’s a real danger, it is considered a rare occurrence and not one that should cause parents any great alarm. Goodness knows there is a seemingly endless stream of dangers and things to worry about when it comes to our children. As with any of them, however, it’s good to have the knowledge so we know what to look out for, as long as we don’t lose sleep worrying about all the hairs we may have missed.

To prevent toe tourniquet syndrome, doctors urge parents, especially those experiencing hair loss, to examine baby clothes — especially socks and mittens — before dressing your child to look for hairs and to look for signs of swelling or anything abnormal when bathing your baby or if he or she is abnormally fussy. Washing baby clothes separately as well as inside out can help too.

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