My Hair Nearly Took Off My Baby's Toes

Michele Zipp

baby toe tourniquet syndrome
Tourniquet syndrome
My friend LorelNicolette had a scary incident over the weekend. Her 3-month-old daughter's toes had the circulation cut off by loose strands of hair.

This could happen to anyone. And it's something my doctor warned me could happen with my son's penis when she saw one of my long hairs in his diaper.

Read on for Lorel's story ....

I had to run some errands on Saturday and took my 3-month-old daughter, Taylor, along with me. Before I went into the post office, I noticed some of my loose hair on her. When I went to pull it off I felt a slight tug, but thought nothing of it. When I looked down again, I still saw the hair stuck to her back. This time when I pulled it, I felt it break. It seemed a little odd to me, but I continued with my errands.

Once home, I went into the bedroom to change Taylor's diaper. As I was changing her, I noticed that her feet didn't look right. Her toes were bulging and bright red. I moved her to the bed to try and get a better look. My hair was cutting off the circulation to two of her toes!! I felt myself start to panic as I feared the worst. It looked like she could possibly lose her toes.

The swelling caused the hair to slice deep into her skin which made it near impossible to see anything. I was able to loosen it a little bit which caused Taylor to scream in pain. Feeling helpless, I yelled for my husband to come help me. He got a flashlight and laid her on the dining room table while his mom worked to remove the hair. Shaking terribly, I went outside to call the ambulance.   

The paramedics got here within minutes and looked her over. They were as baffled as we were about the situation. Even though this was a first for them, they assured us that her toes looked like they would be okay. We decided to decline the ambulance and drive to the hospital since the situation had diffused a bit.

The doctor at the hospital did a quick inspection of her toes, pointing at the signs of blood flow. He assured us this was a good sign. To prevent infection, he told us to wash the cuts with soap and water, and apply antibiotic ointment throughout the day. He told us what complications to watch for and sent us on our way.

When we got home, I immediately started searching the Internet for information. I learned that this happens fairly often to infants. Especially since maternal hair loss peaks for most mothers when the infant is 3 to 4 months old. The clinical name is toe tourniquet syndrome, and can afflict fingers and toes, as well as the penis and labia. It results in pain, swelling, and sometimes loss of the appendage.

I am so glad that we noticed her toes when we did. She very well could have lost them. Taylor had not been unusually fussy so I wouldn't have thought to check her toes had she been wearing socks. From now on I am going to be a lot more careful with my loose hair. I have already been doing thorough checks of her socks, sleepers, and blankets. I recommend the same for anyone caring for small babies.


I checked in with Lorel and Taylor is doing well. The swelling is down, but the cuts are still healing. 

Have you heard of tourniquet syndrome?


Image via LorelNicolette/CafeMom

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