A single strand of hair could cost your baby a toe! Scary!

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Can a single strand of hair really cause that grave an injury to a baby?

I couldn't help but go, "What?!" Can a single strand of hair really cause that grave an injury to a baby? Is hair so sharp that it can cut through a little toe and cause it to swell and bleed?

Just last week, The Good Land Homestead put up a post on Instagram on a scary situation they had gone through. Their little one had to be taken to hospital because of a hair tourniquet emergency.

We had a big scare yesterday. Ended up at the Childrens' Hospital St Francis again with Ann. This time it was a #hairtourniquet Please tag anyone you know that is a parent or soon to be parent. This is when a hair gets wrapped around a finger toe, or other extremity, and gets so tight it cuts off circulation. It can even result in amputation if not caught soon enough. A hair, for unexplained reasons, does this when feet are in footies or hands in mittens and there is repetitive movement. Check your baby's toes and fingers often. Hair has the ability to stretch when wet, then shrinks when it dries. For this reason hair tourniquets are so dangerous. Praising God again for His grace, a mother's instinct, and my hearing of another story that led me to my instinct the day before. #babies #baby #newborns #newmom #moms #motherhood #hair #fingers #toes

A post shared by The Good Land Homestead (@thegoodlandhomestead) on

What is hair tourniquet syndrome?

The hair tourniquet syndrome happens when a hair – or a piece of thread – gets trapped near a baby's finger, toe or penis, and becomes tightly wound around it. It could be just one loose strand of hair, or even a strand of thread from the sock, which tightens while wriggling.

The condition is known to aggravate while inside a sock, when the hair inexplicably wraps around a toe so tight, that it can cut through the skin and potentially cut off blood circulation.

It can also happen during sleep, usually under sheets or baby blankets which have loose threads that can constrict the toes.

Signs of hair tourniquet

This condition is surprisingly common in babies who have no way of reporting symptoms. However:

  • The child will become suddenly uncomfortable and miserable. As the toe is often inside a sock, the cause may not be clear.
  • Toe or finger swells up: The affected toe will not have proper blood circulation. The toe will therefore swell and turn blue.

What to do if you suspect a hair tourniquet

  • If you're baby is crying inconsolably for no apparent reason, and it's none of the usual suspects, take off every bit of clothing from her body. It's worth examining her fingers, toes and even genitals.
  • If you do spot that strand of hair thats causing all the trouble, carefully use tweezers or nail scissors, and free the hair. Some moms recommend using a bobby pin instead, since it's thin and not sharp at all. Slide the pin between the strand and the skin to pop it off.
  • If you feel that the hair is too tightly wound to the skin, or fear infection, do not hesitate, take your baby to the doctor immediately.

Preventing hair tourniquet

  • Examine baby's socks, booties and mittens thoroughly before dressing : Turn them inside out and check for loose thread, loops, tags or anything that baby can get a finger or toe stuck in.
  • Be doubly careful with pre-loved clothes: Sibling hand-me-downs, or other pre-loved clothes have a greater chance of loose dangling thread.

READ: “Keep hair removal cream handy,” mom pleads after infant almost lost toe

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