Hair Tourniquet in Babies: Causes, Home Remedies & Prevention

How to Deal With Baby Hair Tourniquet

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Gunjan Baweja (Paediatrician)
View more Paediatrician Our Panel of Experts

Taking care of babies can be quite challenging, especially for new parents. Since babies cannot express their needs, it’s a parent’s responsibility to make sure that their little one is safe and healthy. Sometimes, something as simple as hair can harm your baby, and you need to know how to prevent and remedy such a situation. If hair accidentally gets wrapped tightly around your baby’s fingers, toes, or nails, it can cause a lot of pain to your baby. If not treated quickly, this problem might get serious.

Let us learn more about what happens when a piece of hair is tightly wrapped around a baby’s fingers or toes and how to deal with it.

What is a Hair Tourniquet Syndrome in an Infant?

A hair tourniquet is a problem that happens when a strand of hair is wrapped around the fingers, toes, or genitals of a baby. These are most common in infants, and you can generally see a strand of stray hair wrapped around the baby’s toe inside the sock. This is called toe hair tourniquet.

How to Detect a Tourniquet Syndrome

You can suspect the occurrence of a hair tourniquet if your baby is crying and cannot be consoled with the usual things like cuddling and feeding. If he is crying without any cause, check all the ten fingers and all the ten toes of the baby for a sign of a strand of hair or thread pinching the baby’s skin. If you have a baby boy, check his penis as well. If the baby has a strand of hair wrapped around his fingers, toes, or genitals for a long time, it might cause painful swelling.

You can do a check all around when you are bathing the baby. Look for strands of hair or thread that might cause a problem later. Clean out the fallen hair before taking your baby into the bathroom for a bath.

How to Detect a Tourniquet Syndrome

Treatments for Toe Tourniquet

Here are some hair tourniquet removal methods that can be used to remove hair from a baby’s toe:

Use a pair of fine tweezers or a bobby pin or something similar, which is slim and not sharp. Slip it under the thread or hair and pull the pin to break the strand of hair or thread.

If the toe, finger, or nail is swollen or discoloured, you should consult a paediatrician. He will examine the affected body part to determine the safest way to remove the hair tourniquet. If the strand of hair or thread is embedded deeply, the doctor might have to use local anaesthesia.

In some severe (but extremely rare) cases, the doctor might have to make a small incision along the baby’s affected part to remove the strand of hair or thread.

Will There Be Any Complications After the Hair Tourniquet is Removed?

If the hair tourniquet is detected and treated quickly, there are very few chances of any tourniquet dangers after that. You baby will heal quickly if the hair tourniquet is removed immediately after detection. But in more severe cases, hair tourniquet can lead to complications like tissue necrosis.

Home Remedies for Removing Hair Wrapped Around Infant’s Finger or Toe

If you detect a tourniquet around your baby’s finger or toe, don’t try to pull the hair at once! It can increase the severity of the hair tourniquet by tightening the strand of hair.

You can use the following home remedies to snip the strand of hair:

  • Use tweezers and a magnifying glass to gently lift the hair up and carefully remove it with baby-nail scissors.
  • Stretch the skin near the affected area and put a piece of scotch tape over the strand of hair. Lift it up with care so that the hair gets attached to the tape. It may either slide off with the tape, or you can snip the hair carefully using baby scissors.
  • Put your baby’s toe in some water and soak it to relax. Hair expands when it is wet. While it is wet, you can grab it with your nails and try to unwind it.
  • Use coconut oil, petroleum jelly, or olive oil to moisturise the affected area and try to slide the hair off gently.

How Can You Prevent Hair Tourniquet in Babies?

Here are some precautions you can take to prevent hair tourniquet in your baby:

  • Check your baby’s toe, fingers, and genitals regularly and make sure that there are no stray strands of hair or thread wrapped around them.
  • If you have long hair, tie it up while changing the diapers of the baby to decrease the chances of hair falling into the diaper.
  • Wash your baby’s clothes separately.
  • Turn the mittens and socks inside out after washing them to ensure that no hair or thread is stuck inside.
  • Check the surroundings of the baby for strands of hair or thread, which might cause a hair tourniquet.

When to Call a Doctor

If you are not able to remove the hair tourniquet at home, you should consult a doctor. If the hair is light coloured or if you are not exactly sure if you have removed the hair tourniquet and the baby is still crying, go to the doctor immediately.

If you see that the finger, toe, or penis of your baby is swelled or discoloured because of a hair tourniquet, you should consult a doctor and seek medical attention.

A hair tourniquet is a rare but potentially serious problem. If you see your baby crying without any reason, look out for hair tourniquet and try to remove them carefully. If you cannot remove it at home, consult a doctor immediately.

Also Read: Baby Hair Loss

Previous article «
Next article »