The Dangers of Hair Tourniquet

Of all the strange things that can happen to our babies, it shouldn’t be a surprise a tiny piece of hair is one of them. Many of us don’t know our hair is actually very strong and has the flexibility to stretch when wet and tighten when it dries. You might notice when you shower or when you fold your laundry that your hair can get stuck in the drain or weave itself in your clothing. If you’ve had the pleasure of pulling hair out of your hairbrush, you know the strength our hair can have. Just a single strand can be such a danger to a baby. If hair wraps around a toe or a finger it can cuff off circulations, which can lead to serious outcomes. What’s scary about hair tourniquet is its ability to be so unseeing to our eyes, and many parents have no idea what could be wrong with their crying baby when they have tried everything to appease them.

This rare occasion is called hair tourniquet syndrome, a rare clinical event which can occur during all ages, but most often to infants. Since hair is most likely a thing to overlook, many parents find themselves distraught and confused when their baby is continually crying after they’ve tried many steps to soothe them not knowing they are screaming out of pain. This may go on for hours, and possibly days due to something as small as a strand of hair! When the matter is not taken care of right away your baby is at serious risk of poor circulation, infection, and maybe as serious as having the digit amputated. The areas hair has been documented to tangle are fingers, toes, wrists, penis, scrotum, tongue, vaginal labium, ear lobes, umbilicus, and nipples. All can be extremely painful and the hair must be removed as soon as possible!


If your child is showing signs, such as excessive crying, being in pain, or red and swollen digits make sure to check all areas hair can catch and call your doctor. Because hair is so fine and thin it can be hard to see, and should be only removed by a professional. To protect your baby from hair tourniquet syndrome check clothing and bath water for loose hairs and for more information talk to your pediatrician.


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