Being a new parent is both exciting and exhausting. There are so many fun new experiences but also many dangers. As a physician and mom, I get asked what is one condition that you wished you could warn new parents about. Hair Tourniquet Syndrome is hands down one of the most preventable foot and ankle issues for children.
Hair Tourniquet Syndrome is when a hair or string gets wrapped around a child’s finger or toe. If not caught early, the hair/string can wrap around a child’s finger or toe causing them to lose circulation to the digit. Prolonged loss of blood to the digit can cause irreversible damage like gangrene (death of tissue) which will require surgery to amputate (lose) the digit.
Signs that your child may be experiencing Hair Tourniquet Syndrome
- Reaching for a foot over and over again. They may be trying to grab the foot that is having an issue.
- Uncontrollable crying and/or kicking that is not soothed by any means
- Redness or discoloration of a digit
What to do if your child has a hair/string tightly wrapped around a digit?
If the string or hair is loose enough at home, remove the hair.
If the string/hair is extremely tight or the digit is enlarged and/or discolored, take the child to the emergency room as soon as possible.
How to Avoid Hair Tourniquet Syndrome?
When washing socks, turn them inside out before putting them in the washer.
Before putting socks on an infant, check the inside of the sock to make sure there is no loose thread or hair inside the sock.
Check infant’s feet as well before putting socks on.