Father Warns Others of Hair Tourniquet After Twisted Hair Hurt Baby’s Toe

February 4, 2016 Updated: February 4, 2016

A parent’s viral Facebook post is warning others about a life-threatening condition.

Scott Walker of Wichita, Kansas posted a picture of his daughter’s swollen toe. One afternoon, his daughter, Molly, was getting agitated and tried calming her down with the usual techniques, but nothing worked.


Had a small scare this afternoon with Ms. Molly. What happened was new to me, but apparently not totally uncommon, so I…

Posted by Scott Walker on Thursday, January 21, 2016


He removed one of Molly’s socks and noticed something strange.

“That’s when we saw her toe,” Walker said in the Facebook post. The condition is called a hair tourniquet, and it can cut off a baby’s circulation and cause significant pain, or worse, it could lead to the loss of toes and fingers.

(Scott Walker/Facebook)
(Scott Walker/Facebook)

Molly’s parents were able to remove the strand of hair in time, using a magnifying glass and tweezers.

“This picture was taken about 45 minutes after the hair was removed. Unfortunately, the hair managed to cut all the way through Molly’s skin, completely around her toe, but it could have been worse had it gone much longer untreated, or if the hair wasn’t accessible,” Walker wrote.

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Walker later told TODAY.com that the hair tourniquet was something he’d never heard about.

(Scott Walker/Facebook)
(Scott Walker/Facebook)

“The hair tourniquet syndrome wasn’t anything I ever heard about,” he said. “When we found it was pretty stressful because any time your kid is hurt it’s stressful; you feel helpless. I’m lucky enough to have a wife who is an awesome nurse who was able to remove the hair in minutes.”

According to TODAY, Dr. Debi Gilboa says that a hair tourniquet happens because babies tend to grab at parents’ hair before placing it in a sock or diapers.

“If you feel like your child is behaving in a way that’s unusual, pay attention to it. You’re usually right,” Gilboa said. “A hair tourniquet is a great thing to check for and it’s not hard to spot. There’s not really any way to prevent it, but they’re not that hard to remove. Use something like a bobby pin, so it’s thin and not sharp, slide it between the hair and the skin and it pops right off. If you feel uncomfortable call your doctor.”

(H/T: IJReview)