What is a Hair Tourniquet?

What is a hair tourniquet?

If you’ve never heard the term ‘hair tourniquet’ before, you can be forgiven for assuming it is something quite harmless. It sounds like the name of the latest fashion hairstyle, perhaps something you’ll need to master before your daughter’s first day of school, but in reality, it is something much more sinister. You may not have heard of a hair tourniquet before, but it is a condition that all new parents need to be aware of.

A hair tourniquet occurs when a hair wraps itself tightly around the finger, toe or genitals of a baby. If unnoticed, the tightly wrapped hair can cut off circulation and cause injury. You may find the affected area is swollen until it has healed. Though rare, there have been cases of babies losing fingers or toes as a result of hair tourniquets.

Hair tourniquets are surprisingly common and yet many parents are completely unaware of the risk. They are dangerous because babies are simply unable to communicate what is wrong. As a new parent, you can end up feeling quite helpless when all of your usual tricks don’t work to soothe your upset child. If your baby is crying and irritable and you can’t work out why, it is always worth removing your baby’s clothing to determine if a hair tourniquet could be to blame. It’s not just hair that puts your baby’s digits in danger, loose threads can become tourniquets, too. If you notice a tourniquet wrapped tightly around your baby’s appendage, you’ll need to remove the tourniquet quickly and carefully. If you find a very tight tourniquet that looks to be embedded, call for urgent medical assistance immediately.

How to prevent hair tourniquets

To prevent hair tourniquets, you should check your baby’s body after each bath. Make sure there are no tourniquets before getting your child dressed each day. And remember, if you ever find yourself with an unhappy and miserable baby, do a quick check for hair tourniquets.

Awareness of hair tourniquets is growing thanks to social media. A number of parents have shared photos of their baby’s hair tourniquets online to raise awareness of this condition. As you might expect, these photos quickly went viral allowing parents across the world to recognize the signs of this condition.

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.