Why You Should Always Keep an Eye on Your Baby's Toes


When I became a mother there were so many things that I wasn’t yet aware of, including just how fast little one's nails grow. Lots of my mum friends voiced how petrified they were about cutting their child’s nails because of how small their fingers and toes were. I took it all in my stride and ordered the baby nail cutting set from Boots, and these tiny clippers are still in use today, three years on!

You should always try and use baby clippers or baby nail scissors to cut a babies nail. You should never use your mouth and teeth because bacteria can get under the skin of your child and cause an infection. My biggest tip for you is to cut them when they are asleep so they don’t see you coming. Babies are intrigued by what you are doing but they also don’t very often keep still. By trimming the nails when they are asleep it is a great way to get around this. Or you could cut them just after they have been bathed when the nails are soft from being in the warm water, then they are easier to cut through as well. My son had super strong thick nails, especially on his toenails!

There is one more serious thing I would like to mention about babies toes now though, not to do with the nails but actually the skin of the toes. The condition I would like to make everyone aware of is called Hair Tourniquet Syndrome. It is a rare medical condition that occurs when body parts become tightly wrapped in hair, and it is most common in babies.

When babies are in sleepsuits, little socks, or even just rolling around barefooted or crawling around on the floor, hair and fabric fibres can so easily become wrapped around their little toes. Does your little one have rolls of fat on their wrists and ankles? If they do then please check all of their toes daily or even twice a day, because even a couple of strands of hair around a crease or a joint can cause the blood supply to become cut off. And even if your baby is slim and has no rolls of fat on their toes, the hair can still so easily become tight around the skin during movement and clothing friction, and it can cause a lot of harm.

Remember to check periodically throughout the day, perhaps at each nappy change or outfit change, at least once or twice a day and especially at bath time and bedtime, and also to ensure that you look over every toe carefully. Some peoples hair is fine enough so that it goes unnoticed, but if your child has any swelling or redness on their toes please look carefully and precisely to check for hair or clothing fibres that could have become wrapped around the creases of their toes.

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Over the years I have seen very few articles about the dangers of this and I thought it was important to mention. Your Baby Club is a source of important knowledge to all you new mums and dads out there who are currently reading the blog. This is a serious situation to look out for and one not to be taken lightly. I only know about this condition second hand from around the time when my son was a newborn, luckily this never happened to me because I saw her story and I kept checking my son’s toes.

I saw one mum bravely share her story after she had rushed her little one to Accident and Emergency, having found that when she pulled off her sock her four toes had gone blue. The blood supply had been cut off after a piece of hair had become wrapped around the middle of her toes. Luckily this baby recovered after some time in hospital, but if the mother didn’t notice her foot when she did do, the baby might well have lost those affected toes, as it would have become too damaged for blood supply to fully return and amputation would have been required.

Although rare this condition does happen with babies and it is important that people know about it. If you do find hairs wrapped around your little one's toes it is vital that you remove them as soon as possible. Try and remove them with your own fingernails or nail scissors, but if you cannot get anything underneath in order to cut the hair, without hurting the baby or tightening the hair further, then you will need to use a depilatory cream directly onto the hair. Wash the toes with warm water afterwards this has taken effect and inspect the toes for any sign of damage to the skin. Apply cream to the area which has antiseptic in it and keep an eye on the toes as they heal. If in doubt visit your local pharmacy or GP for further advice.

I hope that this article has been informative for you, I did not write it in order to scare anyone, however, every part of our children are precious, and their little toes need watching over in order to prevent anything like this from happening to your own little ones.

So the lessons for today are these, cut those baby nails carefully and check those baby toes every single day for threads and hairs! You will be so glad that you did.

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