Hair Tourniquet Syndrome: The Unknown Danger
Hair Tourniquet Syndrome is a medical condition where a hair or other thread becomes tied around a toe or finger so tightly, that it puts the digit at risk of damage.
This is most common in babies and young children who have small toes and fingers. You may think that this isn't a very common occurrence, but it actually happens way more than you think and it is definitely something to look out for.
As you can imagine, a hair tourniquet can be very, VERY sore, so you will know if there is something wrong. Now, of course, your baby crying isn't always a sign of a hair tourniquet, but if he/she is inconsolable, you should start checking their toes. The toe will be swollen and red and look very irritated.
So what should you do if you discover that you baby is suffering from a hair tourniquet? In most cases, when the hair hasn’t been wrapped around too tightly, you might be able to lift or loosen the thread yourself. However, if in any way you are not comfortable or see that the thread has cut through the skin, get your little one to the doctor ASAP.
Despite the distressing nature of the condition, outcomes are usually excellent. The loss of a toe is extremely rare so don't be too worried. In most cases, children do not suffer from any residual disability and the only "souvenir" of the condition that they are left with, is a small scar on their toe.
To prevent Hair Tourniquet Syndrome, checking to make sure that there are no loose hairs in your baby's socks can make all the difference.
If you want take a more drastic approach to preventing a hair tourniquet, then you can also keep all of your baby's laundry separate and wash them separately as well. All in all, Hair Tourniquet Syndrome is definitely something that, as a parent, you should be aware of. While the effects (in most cases) aren't usually severe it can be a very distressing experience for all those involved.