The Painful, Almost Invisible Reason Your Baby Might Be Crying

767px-Hairtournequet
Image via Wikimedia Commons

I'm not going to lie. The above picture really makes my skin crawl. I'm grimacing as I'm writing this. No, not that grimace. The kind of grimace that makes you want to avoid that at all costs.

What you see above is called a hair tourniquet. Maybe you've heard of it; maybe you haven't. But it's extremely important to be aware of because babies are at risk for these sorts of things happening, just ask this mom who had to deal with it herself. 

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So what exactly is a hair tourniquet? A hair tourniquet is when a strand (or a couple of strands) of hair wraps itself around either the toes or the fingers on your baby's feet and hands. Typically, it happens more often to the toes than the fingers, but it can also wrap around a baby's penis, which is 100% undesirable and harder to see because it would be covered up by a diaper.

You may be saying to yourself, “It's just hair. How bad could it be?” Take a glance at the photo above and think again. It could cause a lot of pain and even cut off the circulation completely, forcing the need of amputation. Not cool.

Elizabeth Reid, the mom in the story that was linked to above, knows how serious it could be. Her baby's toe was “bright red, almost purple,” and her baby was in pain. 

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Reid shared some tips that will help make sure that your baby doesn't get a hair tourniquet:

  • Check fingers and toes: Take a look at all of your baby's digits to see if there's hair wrapped around any of them.
  • Check your baby's clothes: Make sure that there aren't any strands of hair in your baby's clothing. These could get themselves wrapped around their fingers or toes.
  • Wash your baby's clothes separate from all other clothes: This will ensure that no stray hairs from other family members find their way into your baby's clothes.
  • Wash your baby's clothes inside out: If you do this, you'll be able to see hair if it happens to find its way in their despite your other efforts. 
  • Check your baby's fingers and toes if they're crying: If your baby is a little on the fussy side and you can't figure out what the problem is, check their fingers, toes, and, in the case of baby boys, their penis. There may be a hair tourniquet there.

We all want our babies to be safe. This is just another danger that we need to be aware of so that our babies can be comfortable and safe.

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The Painful, Almost Invisible Reason Your Baby Might Be Crying

Jace Whatcott is a self-diagnosed introvert who loves crossword puzzles, golf, and reading. Despite being a male contributor—one of the few on this particular website—he is not in unfamiliar territory. Because he is an English major, 90% of his classmates are females, so he’s not too worried about being a fish out of water. One of his favorite things to do is to raid local thrift stores for used books. He’s always looking for something to read, or for something to put on his endless to-r ... More

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4 comments

  1. Profile photo of Mat Mat says:

    I saw the picture of this article when reading another article. From the title it made me feel like it was on the same level as those spam ads about 1 weird trick to lose weight, so I never read it, but the image still got there.

    Just 5mins ago this happened with a piece of thread in his swaddle. It was wrapped really tight around one of his toes.

    We only found it because he’d just pooped and we were trying to change him. Not sure how long it was on for, but so glad we found it.

    I’ll be washing all his clothes inside out now.

  2. Profile photo of javajane javajane says:

    This happened to my son. Poor lil guy let me know about it too! He woke up from a nap crying. It wasn’t easy to remove either. It was so tightly wound around his lil toe. Pretty sure it was the same toe as pictured.

  3. Profile photo of Marissa Marissa says:

    Actually I saw this on Facebook. Where the mom posted this picture of her baby’s foot. that this was due to the strands of thread from the baby’s sock got wrapped around her baby’s toe.

  4. Profile photo of Amanda Amanda says:

    Hairs can also wrap around the tastebuds on your tongue. I’ve had it happen before and very unpleasant.

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