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Mum issues warning after baby girl 'nearly lost her toe' over single strand of hair

Rhianna Benson

Published 
| Last updated 

Mum issues warning after baby girl 'nearly lost her toe' over single strand of hair

Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News and Media

A mother was plunged into her worst nightmare after being told her newborn baby might need to have her toe amputated.

Laura Powles, from Bridgend in Wales, was changing her 10-week-old daughter Skylah-Rae's nappy when her eye was immediately drawn to one of the infant's red and profusely swollen toes.

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Having noticed that her little one had been more 'agitated' than usual - something she previously put down to lack of sleep which is common in newborn babies - she opted to inspect the toe more closely.

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"She had been really grizzly for a couple of days and I didn't know what was wrong with her," Laura said.

It was then that the truth finally dawned upon 31-year-old mum, and she quickly picked up the tiny tot and rushed her to the Prince of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.

It turned out that a single strand of the terrified mother's own hair had become wrapped around Skylah-Rae's toe, subsequently cutting off its circulation.

Laura noticed her little girl was more restless than ever. Credit: Kennedy News and Media
Laura noticed her little girl was more restless than ever. Credit: Kennedy News and Media
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Staff at the hospital explained that the baby was suffering from hair tourniquet syndrome, which mostly affects infants when hair becomes tied around toes, fingers or other appendages.

Knowing they needed to act fast, medics then smothered Skylah-Rae's toe in hair removal cream multiple times in an attempt to remove the tightly wrapped strand from her tiny foot.

The hair was then plucked free with surgical tweezers.

Stomach-wrenching photos taken back in November 2022 show baby girl Skylah-Rae's toe sore and swollen after the strand of hair cut off its circulation.

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The infant's toe had become red and swollen. Credit: Kennedy News and Media
The infant's toe had become red and swollen. Credit: Kennedy News and Media

Now, with her daughter's health fully-restored, Laura is using her experience to warn other parents of the importance of consistently checking their children's fingers and toes to prevent it happening to them.

"It was only when I was changing her that I noticed one of her toes were really red," she recalled. "It was really swollen and red and I was panicking. I tried to look at it but I couldn't because it was so swollen so I rushed her to A&E.

"If we had left it any longer, she could have lost her toes. Her toe was so red and swollen. They told me it was a hair tourniquet but I had never heard of this before.

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"In the end they put hair removal cream into the crack where it was swollen. They left it on for 20 minutes at a time four times.

The tiny tot was rushed to hospital. Credit: Kennedy News and Media
The tiny tot was rushed to hospital. Credit: Kennedy News and Media

"This was still not working and they said she might have to have surgery.

"They left it on then for half an hour and it started to break the skin and blister. She was screaming and it was awful."

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She went on: "They [the hospital staff] managed to get some surgical tweezers and all of sudden the hair came out but the whole experience was awful.

"I had never had to deal with anything like this before. You put so much blame on yourself and just ask yourself why I didn't check her toes. You always blame yourself.

"The whole experience was absolutely horrendous."

Laura recalled her beautiful baby girl 'absolutely screaming' while the medics were applying the hair removal cream, which was burning her skin.

Laura is now warning another parents to look out for hair becoming wrapped around their baby's fingers and toes. Credit: Kennedy News and Media
Laura is now warning another parents to look out for hair becoming wrapped around their baby's fingers and toes. Credit: Kennedy News and Media

"It blistered and then scabbed over and stayed for a week, but then it was fine," the mum added.

After the fourth attempt at removing the hair with cream, doctors advised Skylah-Rae may need surgery to remove the lock.

Luckily for the tot, however, after coating her toe in another layer of the cream, the hair disintegrated.

Laura said: "The hospital told me it was quite common [the condition] and happens a lot but parents aren't as aware about checking it.

"It can happen with hair, threads, cotton off their baby clothes and it can happen to fingers, toes and even genital areas.

"Parents need to check their toes on a daily basis and check every time you change them.

"I just want to get this message out there. If it can help just one child, that is what I want to do."

Topics: Health, Parenting

Rhianna Benson
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