Dad warns parents after baby nearly loses toe over ‘hair tourniquet’

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A concerned father’s warning for other parents about his daughter’s strange health scare is going viral — nearly a year after the dad explained in a lengthy Facebook post how the baby nearly lost her toe.

While out to lunch with his family one afternoon in January 2016, Scott Walker said his little girl, Molly, became cranky and irritable. At first it seemed like nothing out of the ordinary.

But when she started screaming to the point where she turned bright red, Walker’s wife, Jessica, decided to cool the baby down by taking off her socks. As soon as she removed the sock from her daughter’s right foot, she noticed a single strand of hair wrapped tightly around a red, throbbing toe.

“This is called a hair tourniquet, which is literally a strand of hair that, while inside a sock, unexplainably wraps around a toe so tight that it can cut through the skin and potentially cut off blood circulation,” Walker explained in the post, which has been shared more than 35,000 times.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), hair tourniquet syndrome can affect fingers, toes and even genitals.

“In this condition, body appendages are strangulated by hair that acts like a tourniquet,” the NLM wrote in a 2015 report. “A strand or strands of hair act like a circumferential constriction band and subsequently strangulate the body appendages.”

Failure to identify the symptoms in a timely manner could result in an emergency requiring amputation.

Luckily, Jessica was able to remove the hair from around Molly’s toe with tweezers and a magnifying glass. Within minutes, the baby felt a sense of relief.

“Unfortunately, the hair managed to cut all the way through Molly’s skin, completely around her toe,” Walker explained. “But it could have been worse had it gone much longer untreated, or if the hair wasn’t accessible.”

Forty-five minutes later, Walker said Molly’s toe was still double its normal size, and they took her to a doctor as a precaution.

“The doctor told me, for future reference, to always check the toes if the baby is inconsolable,” Walker said. “Just an FYI to any parents or care takers out there.”

Walker had never seen or heard of the condition before the incident with his daughter, but he quickly found out it isn’t uncommon. Thousands of people commented on his Facebook post to share their own scares with the condition.

“This just happened to my 1-month-old. I was terrified and felt helpless cause the hair was so tight it was starting to cut into her skin! I took a deep breath and managed to somehow scrape it off,” one mother commented.

“This happened to my daughter when she was a toddler…except it was her finger,” another added. “I checked in her at night and her finger was purple.”

A year later, Walker is happy his message is still serving as a warning for parents of newborns and young children to check for loose strands of hair.

“Molly is still saving little toes around the world, one year later,” the dad wrote.


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