A 10-week-old boy is recovering after nearly losing four of his toes when a strand of his mother’s hair became tangled on his foot, cutting off the baby’s circulation for at least 12 hours, his mother says. “It was a horrible experience,” Alex Upton, 26, said of the ordeal that landed her infant son, Ezra, in the hospital last month. Upton, of Paignton, England, said she was awakened by Ezra’s cries, and became confused when the baby wouldn’t drink any milk.
Then, Upton said, she noticed that four toes on Ezra’s foot were red and swollen.
The concerned mom of two looked closer and saw that a single strand of her long, brown hair had become wrapped around his toes, and was cutting off the baby’s blood circulation.
“It must have been on there for 12 to 14 hours because I only noticed it in the morning,” Upton said. “I pulled at it and realized how tightly it’d wrapped around his toes. It’d tangled around three or four of them. I felt awful.”
Upton tried for more than 15 minutes to remove the tangled hair, noting that she used a pair of tweezers to ultimately cut the strand away. She took the boy to a local hospital where a doctor gave her antibacterial cream for Ezra’s damaged toes.
Upton said she feared that Ezra’s toes would have been removed had she not found the hair in time.
“I’m normally really safety conscious with the kids, but I had never expected this to happen to us,” she said, noting that Ezra is back to his “normal” self.
“My advice to any parents would be when you’re changing [your baby] or putting on socks, or even getting them out of the bath, check thoroughly and make sure you turn clothing inside out first to remove any stray hair.”
A hair tourniquet can occur when babies even just a strand of hair ends up in places like a diaper, or sock without a parent noticing, according to Today. The strand can wrap around a baby’s toe, finger, or umbilical stump so tight that it can cut through the skin and cut off blood circulation.
“Hair easily gets stuck in things when they’ve been in the washing machine too, so it’s important to check,” Upton said.