Hair Tourniquet Syndrome – What Parents Should Know 

Because you don’t have enough to terrify you in the big bad world of parenting tiny humans, here’s another danger…insidiously lurking inside your baby’s sock. (Really).

Baby foot

This is a picture of 5-month-old baby Molly’s toe – 45 minutes after the removal of a ‘hair tourniquet’.

A loose hair had found its way into her sock and wound itself around the toe. Somehow, Molly’s wriggling caused the hair to wind itself tighter and tighter until the poor mite began to bellow in pain.

Save for a bit of discomfort, the scenario seems a fairly innocuous one, but can in fact lead to infection – even surgery.

Luckily for Molly, her supermum came to the rescue, armed with tweezers and a magnifying glass; but the hair still managed to cut through the skin – ouch! – and there could’ve been more serious problems if the hair wasn’t accessible – or if nobody had had the presence of mind to check (of all things) inside the tot’s sock.

Molly’s dad shared this on Facebook for the benefit of other parents:

“The doctor told me, for future reference, to always check the toes if the baby is inconsolable. Just an FYI to any parents or care takers out there.”

How to prevent a toe tourniquet

Check baby’s clothing and bedding for stray pieces of your hair – especially if it’s long.

What to do if your baby gets a toe tourniquet

If your baby is crying inconsolably and your usual tricks to soothe aren’t working, check their digits and, if they’re a boy – their genitals.

Tweezers and nail scissors can usually do the job; if the hair looks too tight against the skin for you to get behind or if you’re worried about infection, get your doctor to do it.