London - When a mother noticed two of her baby’s toes were red and sore, she thought she’d been stung by an insect.
But the culprit turned out to be a single strand of her own long blonde hair... which had curled itself around her three-month-old daughter’s toes.
It was so tight it had become embedded in the skin and cut off circulation. Panic-stricken, Gemma Fraser called paramedics who spent 45 minutes removing the hair which was cutting into three-month-old Orla’s toes like a cheesewire.
This is a form of "tourniquet syndrome", in which hairs or fibres get caught in baby clothing and end up twisted around fingers or toes. Fraser, 35, from Edinburgh, said Orla had been a "bit out of sorts" but she never thought of checking her feet. Orla was taken to hospital after the drama last June and given antibiotic cream. But one toe failed to heal properly and she later needed minor plastic surgery.
"She’s absolutely fine now," her relieved mother said. "There’s a little scar on her toe, but hopefully that will disappear." Though serious cases are rare, experts urged parents to check babies’ hands and feet if they become inconsolable for no apparent reason.
Midwife Cass McNamara said: "Hair is incredibly strong and can act like fishing wire. This has led to babies having toes and fingers amputated...The tourniquet can also be something like a strand from a wool blanket."