A close up of baby Molly's toe after the hair tourniquet was removedWith all the things you worry about hurting your baby when you bring home a newborn, stray hairs are probably not high on the list…but they should be!

New parents Scott and Jessica Walker of Wichita, Kansas have launched an online awareness campaign after their 19-week-old baby Molly almost lost her toe due to a phenomenon known as a hair tourniquet.

Basically, what happened to Molly (and what happens to more babies than you might realize) is this: at some point, a stray hair, either from her parent or from her own head, worked its way into Molly’s sock, where it got wrapped around her tiny toe. Over a short period of time, it became so tightly wrapped that it cut off all circulation to the toe.

This type of situation is very serious: if parents don’t realize what’s happening in a timely fashion, the baby could face a toe amputation! Fortunately for baby Molly, her hair tourniquet was extremely painful; she cried so loudly and ferociously that she overheated, prompting Jessica to remove her socks in an attempt to cool her down—that’s when she saw the hair that was wrapped around Molly’s toe.

Fortunately, once detected, the problem is easy to solve—just take something thin (but not sharp), like a bobby pin, and slide it between the hair and the baby’s toe. The  hair should snap right off and circulation should shortly return.

Baby’s feet are so delicate—we must do everything we can to protect them. If you have any concerns about your baby’s growing feet, please don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with Dr. Andrew Schneider, a children’s podiatrist in Houston, TX.
Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.