Parenting Health

Hair Tourniquet In Your Baby - Things To Know

Dr Shipra Mathur
0 to 1 years

Created by Dr Shipra Mathur
Updated on Jun 03, 2018

Hair Tourniquet In Your Baby Things To Know
Reviewed by Expert panel

What Is Hair Tourniquet?

The phenomenon of getting a hair or thread wrapped around a toe or other body part is called a “hair tourniquet.” How does it happen? It is more common in babies under 1 year of age. They may get a hair on the inside of a pajama or sock and twist the hair tight around the toe by wiggling around, usually in their sleep. It can then cause pain, injury and sometimes even loss of that body part due to lack of circulation if not detected in time. Any part of the body may be involved other than toes. Hair have been found wound around the wrist, penis, scrotum, tongue, ear lobe etc.

It can also happen with loose thread from clothing or bedding, but that is less common. Human hair being thin and elastic, is more likely to wrap in this way around digits.

How To Recognise It ?

Although the affected baby can present in several ways, the classic presentation is that of the inconsolable infant.

Parents should be able to notice the hair tourniquet early on because it causes extreme discomfort to the baby. Babies get very upset and will not be calmed down by solutions that usually help when they are crying. The problem comes when parents miss checking toes/fingers and the baby has clothes on that conceal the cause. If the hair has been tight enough, an indentation will be seen all the way around the toe. Depending on how long it’s been, the tip of the toe may be turn red or blue and may even bleed around the site of the hair.

What To Do About It?

It is extremely important to remove the hair as soon as possible. But do not panic! It is usually not possible to just pull the hair out. Use vaseline, olive oil, or coconut oil to lubricate the area, and try to gently slide off the hair. Wetting the toe may also help to expand the hair and make it easier to get under. Or you could use a magnifying glass and tweezers to lift up the hair, and snip it carefully with baby nail scissors. You can also place a piece of clear scotch tape horizontally over the hair. The hair may stick to it and can then be slid off or cut.

When To See A Doctor

If you are unable to remove the hair at home or are not sure if it has come out or not, it is best to best to seek medical attention fast.

If baby’s toe/part affected is already turning blue, don’t waste time trying to remove the hair at home. This is a sign that circulation has already been lost and you should go to the Emergency of your nearest hospital right away.

Time Taken To Heal

Most babies will do fine as long as the hair is taken off in time, although there may be an indentation at the injury site for a few weeks or months afterwards. If it has stayed for long and compromised blood supply, then complications including loss of the digit may occur.

Ways To Prevent It

Toe tourniquet syndrome thus can be dangerous but is also an entirely preventable condition of young infants. New mothers are known to shed hair and spend a lot of time close to the baby.They are advised to keep their hair pulled back. If there is excessive hair loss, parents should check the baby and bedding carefully before and after sleep to make sure that no hair are becoming entangled in their fingers or toes.

Did you like the blog? Did you find it useful? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below; we’d love to hear from you!

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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| Mar 06, 2018

very useful tips. thanks for sharing!

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| Mar 06, 2018

really very useful tips. thanks for sharing

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| Mar 06, 2018

thanks for dis informative blog.... very useful

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| Mar 07, 2018

Thanks for sharing

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| Jun 09, 2018

Actually this happened with my baby when she was one and a half month old. My hair take a tight grip around her small finger of leg. my mom remove the hair by pushing the finger. It was very painful to even see her cry. So be careful everyone and take care of your baby.

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| Jul 02, 2018

Something new to learn... Thanks for sharing...

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