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Baby nearly loses toes after strand of mother's hair cuts off circulation

A mom's cautionary tale of how a single strand of hair endangered her baby's toes.
/ Source: TODAY

Alex Upton faced a dilemma familiar to any parent when she couldn't figure out why her infant son wouldn't stop screaming or take his bottle one morning last week.

The British mother finally found the culprit, which she says nearly could have caused four of her son Ezra's toes to be amputated: a single strand of hair.

Mother's hair wrapped around her son's toe, cutting off circulation.
British mom Alex Upton had a scary moment when she found a strand of her hair painfully cutting off the circulation on four of her 10-week-old son's toes. Kennedy News and Media

The 10-week-old boy had a hair tourniquet on the toes of his left foot that was cutting off the circulation for about 12 to 14 hours and leaving them red and swollen.

"I'll certainly be checking everything for hair from now on,'' Upton told Britain's Kennedy News and Media. "I felt awful. I just can't believe midwives or doctors don't warn you of the risk when you have a baby."

Upton, 26, was changing Ezra when she saw a strand of her brown hair wrapped tightly around his toes in a hair tourniquet, which is when a strand of hair inexplicably wraps around a toe so tight that it can cut through the skin and potentially cut off blood circulation.

Mother's hair wrapped around her son's toe, cutting off circulation.
A single strand of hair left the baby boy's toes painfully swollen. Kennedy News and Media
Mother's hair wrapped around her son's toe, cutting off circulation.
Ezra has fully recovered since having the hair removed from his foot. Kennedy News and Media

"I feared Ezra might lose some of his toes and he could easily have needed (to have them removed) if I hadn't noticed the hair then,'' she said.

Hair tourniquets often happen when parents have long hair and babies grab it, or a piece of it ends up in their diaper or sock without parents noticing.

Upton easily removed the hair from three of Ezra's toes but needed 15 minutes before she was able to get tweezers underneath the hair on one tightly-wrapped toe to finally pull it all off.

She and her husband Ben, 29, took the baby to the doctor, who gave them some anti-bacterial cream to put on Ezra's toes after checking him. He has since made a full recovery.

Upton is hoping her ordeal lets other parents know about the danger of hair tourniquets. A Kansas couple had the same thing happen in 2016 to their 19-week-old daughter.

"I'm normally really safety conscious with the kids, but I had never expected this to happen to us,'' she said.

"My advice to any parents would be when you're changing baby-grows or putting on socks, or even getting them out of the bath, check thoroughly and make sure you turn clothing inside out first to remove any stray hair."