A father in Kansas posted a picture of his baby's foot on Facebook to shed light on a potentially dangerous medical condition most people have never heard about.
Scott Walker of Wichita, Kansas, was having lunch with his wife and 19-week-old daughter, Molly, when the latter started to scream. As Molly began to overheat, Walker's wife took off the baby's socks. That's when they discovered a hair tourniquet around Molly's toe.
A hair tourniquet is a condition in which a strand of hair tightly wraps itself around a toe. If left untreated, it can cause localized tissue damage or infection, according to Answers.
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"The hair tourniquet syndrome wasn't anything I ever heard about," Walker told Today.com. "When we found it, 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."
Dr. Debi Gilboa, a parenting and youth development expert, explained to Today.com that hair tourniquets are a significant risk for babies and toddlers.
"This is something all pediatric interns are taught to look for when a baby or preverbal toddler is inconsolable," she said.
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If you feel like your child is behaving in a way that's unusual, pay attention to it. You're usually right. 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.
Walker's Facebook post, in which he cautioned fellow parents to always be aware of the condition, received more than 43,000 likes and 32,000 shares, and even led to a few people discovering hair tourniquets on their own children.
"There's a lot of people who haven't heard about it and we've had a couple of messages [from] people who saw the post and it happened to them since then and [they] took action to help their kid out before it got worse," he told Today.com. "How much more rewarding does it get?"