Parents are being warned to regularly check their baby’s fingers and toes for signs of a syndrome that can lead to horrific injuries.

Sara Ward says her five-month-old baby boy was ‘fortunate’ to avoid surgery after she noticed something strange with his toe.

“This is a warning for all parents of babies and toddlers about Hair Tourniquet Syndrome. I had never heard of it until it happened to my child,” she explained in a Facebook post. “Logan got a single strand of hair wrapped so tightly around his toe that it was cutting off circulation.

“We noticed a line going across Logan’s toe and some redness on Saturday night. It wasn’t getting better over the weekend so we took him to his doctor on Monday. We started with his paediatrician and eventually went to Urgent Care and the Emergency Room. He had to be admitted last night to the hospital because circulation was not improving and there was risk of losing his toe.”

Sara explained that Logan has a dozen medical professionals try and find the hair with tweezers, scalpels, magnifying goggles and special lights. They also tried hair removal cream to try and break down the hair. When nothing was working, Logan was booked in for surgery.

“In these cases, they have to slice the toe on the side to cut whatever is restricting the toe and make sure they got it all. We were fortunate and were able to avoid surgery at the last minute.”

Hair tourniquet syndrome

Sara decided to share her story, to help other parents understand the warning signs before it’s too late.

“Many of you might be thinking, it’s just a hair, why is it so difficult to get? I know I thought that. But the hair strand can wrap so tightly around the limb and then it begins swelling and constricting the area. The skin starts to form over the hair and it gets imbedded so deep into the tissues. It makes it impossible to see.

“Plus add in a screaming, kicking baby and it makes it 10 times more difficult. While we don’t know for sure how this happened, the medical team speculated there was just a random piece of hair in his pyjamas that started to get caught on his toe. Then with all his kicking, it just wraps around the toe and begins restricting blood flow.

Hair tourniquet syndrome

Hair tourniquet syndrome

“While Logan’s case was extreme, we were very lucky that we were able to save the toe and narrowly avoid surgery. Check your babies toes and fingers for hairs. If you see one wrapped around them, try to remove it as soon as you can. If you can’t and the redness is worse, see your paediatrician right away.”

What is hair tourniquet syndrome?

While it’s actually pretty rare, hair tourniquet syndrome is much more common in babies. It happens when a strand, or strands of hair or thread wind tightly around fingers, toes, the penis or even the clitoris.

The hair continues to get tighter and shrinks, while the skin begins to grow over it. All the while, the appendage is swelling, cutting off circulation, causing pain and sometimes even the loss of the appendage.

It’s really common for mums to have some hair loss after birth, so there’s every chance that there’s a higher chance of this happening with quite young babies.

One of the biggest indicators that bub may have hair tourniquet syndrome is constant crying. If your baby is inconsolable and just won’t settle, take off all of their clothes and socks, and check every appendage for hair. Sometimes you won’t be able to see the actual hair, but you’ll see swelling or redness.

If you think your baby may have hair tourniquet syndrome, head to the doctor or to emergency to have it removed.

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  • This is so scary! I’ll be constantly checking bubs limbs in case.. thanks for sharing


  • This scares me especially with all the post partum hair loss


  • This story makes me want to cut my hair short. So glad that Logan is okay.


  • I remember being told this when I had my oldest, 22 years ago.
    Looking at the baby in a hospital cot sends me right back to when my baby spent 6 months in hospital. I can almost smell it.


  • So scary. It is good to make parents aware of this.


  • Have never heard of this but good to know. Can’t imagine unless things go wrong. Better to be safe then sorry especially when the word is spread.


  • Poor little man. I have had hair wrap around my toe and it was so uncomfortable that i took my sock off and checked.


  • This is so scary! I have long hair and I’ve noticed a couple of times that it was caught around my babies toes. Thankfully I picked it up in time. This would be absolutely horrible. Such a little thing but it can cause so much damage :(


  • So scary…It happened to my son as well but we noticed in time.


  • Such a little thing could do so much harm.


  • How very scary


  • So incredibly scary, but definitely something we should be checking.


  • This happened to my sisters ear through and earring hole


  • That would have been so scary for her and painful for her bub. I’m glad it was found in time and surgery was avoided.


  • Glad she noticed it in time!


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