By the time you have your third child, it’s generally understood that you have a pretty decent handle on what to expect. (Did I hear someone laugh out there?) I know that each child presents his or her own challenges. You’ll always learn new things with each kid, but when my youngest was an infant, I learned something that completely shocked me and the lesson continues to resonate with me.
Yesterday, a good friend Organized SAHM, posted a picture on her Facebook page of baby toes. It wasn’t a picture of the cute little adorable toes that we are obligated to kiss and tickle and play with. (The picture just to the left over there is my newborn nephew’s adorable little piggies! Aren’t they sweet?!)
This picture on Facebook was of baby toes that had been injured. Badly.
The second I saw it, I was taken back nine years to when my son was only a few weeks old. The same thing happened to him. You can see it here. (Note: I don’t know that mom and we don’t even have mutual friends, but she made the picture public in the hopes of helping someone else. That’s why I’m writing this blog.)
By the third child in on this parenting gig, you would think that someone would have warned me about this. But no one had. You see those cute little footed sleepers and booties that you put on your baby? They trap hair. When you put them in the washer or dryer, any stray hairs that might be floating around get cupped and caught in those ends. I had two beautiful girls at the time and each had long flowing hair. This meant that my son’s booties filled with stray hairs every time we washed and dried them. On the morning after Halloween, we discovered that two of the toes on one of his feet were completely misshapen. They were swollen to nearly twice the size they should have been and they were turning purple. We rushed him to the ER and that’s where we found the hair that had wrapped around his toes.
How can you mitigate the chances of this happening to your baby? Other than skipping footed sleepers and outfits completely, here is the safest fix you can do. Turn everything inside out for washing, drying and storing. That way, when you wash those clothes, things will get trapped on the ‘outside’ (which is now the inside) and when you turn it right side out, you’ll know nothing is going to catch on your baby’s toes. Even if you wash and dry them inside out, storing them inside out is the best bet because stray hairs travel. They can get caught up on the outside of something and transfer too easily to another item of clothing.
I’ve also heard of cases of this happening to little boys in their diapers. Some boys have had devastating injuries due to hair, thread or strings that get caught up in a diaper or inside sleepers and outfits, so make sure you clip those strings short inside and keep them well maintained!
My son’s toes are fine. Though the hair had worked its way to the bone on both toes, they healed remarkably well. But this was something I would wish on no other parent and it’s something that isn’t in the “What to Expect” books or parenting blogs that I’ve seen thus far. So please – pass the word around to young mothers and expectant mothers. This isn’t an old wives tale or some urban legend. It happened to our family and I can only pray that by sharing it here and spreading the word, we can stop it from happening to someone else!