As if there weren't enough horrifying things that could go wrong with tiny, helpless babies with their soft heads and rubbery necks, a Kansas dad recently posted a picture on Facebook of his infant daughter's toe that will make you want to cover your eyes (and your baby's toes).
According to BuzzFeed News, Scott Walker (no, not Wisconsin's Scott Walker) was out to lunch with his family when Molly, his five-month-old daughter with wife Jessica, became "very upset" and wouldn't settle down, no matter what they tried. The Walkers had an instinctive feeling that something wasn't right—Molly suffers from colic and acid reflux, so fussiness isn't unusual, but something definitely seemed "off" in this case. Jessica took off Molly's socks to cool her down, and she noticed her daughter's toe was red and inflamed. A piece of hair had become wrapped so tightly around it that it was actually cutting into the baby's skin.
Apparently new parents have to be really careful of an easy to miss but potentially dangerous condition called "toe-tourniquet syndrome" or a "hair tourniquet." It's when a piece of hair gets wrapped around a baby's finger or toe and cuts off the blood flow to the digit, which can have serious consequences if it's not addressed immediately.
According to Dr. Julie L. Gallombardo, a clinical instructor in the Department of Pediatrics at New York University Langone Medical Center, this common condition can sometimes be the culprit behind an inconsolable baby. It can lead to infections or result in emergency surgery, and can happen on fingers, toes, and even genitals (oooouuuuuuuccccchhhh).
Molly's mom removed the hair using tweezers and a magnifying glass, and Molly's toe healed up just fine. But Walker shared his story and the picture on Facebook as a caution to other parents who may not be aware that this can happen, and his Facebook post has since been shared over 18,000 times. Baby toes are adorable for snacking on, but keep all hair away from them and check them at all times. And maybe shave your head, just as a precaution. Yikes.