Is your baby’s crying due to a strand of hair?

Is your baby’s crying due to a strand of hair?

A Kansas dad’s warning to parents about a hidden danger that could lead to amputation, if not treated promptly, has been circulating on social media.

After none of the usual ways to soothe their crying daughter worked, baby Molly’s parents noticed she was beginning to overheat. To cool her down, her mom decided to remove her socks, and that’s when they noticed her swollen toe.

A strand of hair had mysteriously become wrapped so tightly around Molly’s toe that it caused major swelling.

Called toe-tourniquet syndrome, this common but relatively under reported syndrome causes inadequate blood supply, which can lead to loss of the appendage if not caught in time, according to a case study.

“This can happen with all appendages, including fingers, toes, and for boys, their penis,” says Dr. Nina Muhammad, an emergency medicine physician with Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, IL.

“I recommend that all caregivers tie their hair back when caring for a baby,” says Dr. Muhammad. “If I see a loose strand of hair on a baby or on myself, I’ll remove it.”

Dr. Muhammad cautions that when a baby can’t be consoled, it’s time to examine areas not visible due to clothing.

“With infants who have not yet learned to speak, the only way they can communicate the pain is by crying,” she says.

If this should happen to a child under your care, Dr. Muhammad recommends trying to find the end of the hair and slowly unwinding it. If the hair is too embedded to remove “that’s a reason to seek care in the emergency room,” she says.

Luckily for Molly, her mom is a nurse, and quickly removed the hair using tweezers and a magnifying glass.

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About the Author

Kate Eller
Kate Eller

Kate Eller was a regional director of public affairs and marketing operations for Advocate Health Care. She enjoys road trips, dogs, minimalism, yoga, hiking, and “urban hiking.”