08/05/2013 03:20 pm ET Updated Oct 04, 2013

Baby Injuries From Tight Clothing


More parents are gaining awareness of an under-reported issue that is causing sometimes permanent scars on the chubby legs of infants, due to tight rubber or elastic trim in socks or pants. It is very important to inform parents, pediatricians and clothing manufacturers so these injuries can stop!

Chubby Leg Scarring
Most preambulatory babies have chubby legs, with rolls of fat to keep them warm. However, those same rolls cause elastic or rubber trim on clothing to cut into the lower leg after only a few hours of wear, and especially if legs swell due to heat or swaddling. The marks can mimic a cut, burn or binding and parents are first shocked at their own emotional reaction and then ashamed or afraid of being judged by a pediatrician or other parents.

Although marks will typically fade if protected from sun, there are some babies who will suffer from a more permanent case of hyper-pigmentation. The key is early treatment, adding moisturizer and shielding the marks from sun with a wrap or band-aid until it is healed.

There has not been an uproar from parents (yet!) except on blogs and there have been few studies or articles documenting the condition. According to the BBC, tight socks may scar babies legs with a condition called sock-line bands. This condition can occur when the baby is only one week old and these raised, reddish marks around the ankle or leg can occur after wearing such clothing on just one occasion.

It is my hope that continuing to raise awareness of this issue will force baby clothing manufacturers to make true infant sizes and to limit the use of such tight rubber or elastic. Certain manufacturers excel when they simply use socks with a cotton knit, which can be better for the child. Parents should be aware of this so that they will check the area with two fingers and stretch as needed. Most people do not realize that a new baby may not cry until the sock is removed and the abrasion is exposed.

Proper Sizing
Infant clothing should be more accurately sized and companies should remember that some children are allergic to rubber, so alternatives should also be used. Proper sizing will ensure the items will last a bit longer, instead of never wearing them as children will naturally outgrow them quickly!

Manufacturers of baby clothing should take note that parents will abandon a brand that damages their child and a scar on a baby is not a memory that will fade for parents...