‘Always Check the Toes’—Parents Warn of ‘Tourniquet Syndrome’ After Single Strand of Hair Threatens Infants

hair tourniquet syndrome

A Florida mom’s viral post from 2017 is resurfacing this week as a warning to parents about the harmful effects of a single strand of hair.

Jill Mraidi wrote the post in 2017 after her 4-month-old son nearly lost his toes due to a loose strand of hair that tangled itself around his foot. The condition is officially called “hair tourniquet syndrome.”

Last month, her experience was re-shared on the Pregnancy Guide Instagram account, once again serving as a warning to parents everywhere.

 

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“I noticed the indentation in his toes and found a small piece of hair but figured no way it could be from that, so I disregarded it,” Jill wrote in her now-viral post.

After getting her son in to see the pediatrician, Jill learned how “lucky” they were that she caught the syndrome so early.

“When the [doctor] told me it was caused by I piece of hair, I was in disbelief. He told me how very lucky we are to catch it so soon because it often results in immediate amputation of the affected appendage.”

According to the pediatrician, the condition happens most often among infants because of the mother’s postpartum hair loss.

“Light colored hair is extremely difficult to identify and surgeons often need microscopes to even see it.”

And Jill isn’t the only parent to have encountered this scary condition. According to experts, very few parents are aware of hair tourniquet syndrome.

“I have four kids and I’d never heard of hair tourniquet syndrome,” Jill says.

Kansas couple Scott and Jessica Walker took to Facebook in 2016 with a similar “scare.”

Scott wrote that he and his wife were struggling one afternoon to soothe their 19-week-old daughter, Molly. As the infant continued to scream, she began heating up, which led Jessica to remove her baby’s socks. When she did, they noticed something wrapped tightly around Molly’s little toe. It was a piece of hair cutting deep into the infant’s skin.

Had a small scare this afternoon with Ms. Molly. What happened was new to me, but apparently not totally uncommon, so I…

Posted by Scott Walker on Thursday, January 21, 2016

“This is called a hair tourniquet, which is literally a strand of hair that, while inside a sock, unexplainably wraps around a toe so tight that it can cut through the skin and potentially cut off blood circulation,” Scott wrote on Facebook “Luckily for Molly, she has a mother with medical emergency superpowers who was able to remove the hair with tweezers and a magnifying glass within a few minutes.”

“This picture was taken about 45 minutes after the hair was removed,” he continues. “Unfortunately, the hair managed to cut all the way through Molly’s skin, completely around her toe, but it could have been worse had it gone much longer untreated, or if the hair wasn’t accessible. The doctor told me, for future reference, to always check the toes if the baby is inconsolable.”

Experts say the most common symptom of the condition is a fussy baby. In Jill’s case, her son was inconsolable and kicking his feet. For Scott and Jessica, baby Molly was angry, upset, and working up a sweat.

Hair tourniquets can be removed at home if they’re loose and visible. But it’s always a safe bet to call the doctor, as many tourniquets require a scalpel and magnification to ensure the appendage is fully removed and circulation has improved.

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Bri Lamm
Bri Lamm is the Editor of ForEveryMom.com! An outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for adventure, she lives to serve the Lord, experience the world, and eat macaroni and cheese all while capturing life’s greatest moments on one of her favorite cameras. Follow her on Facebook!