A Missouri mom is warning new parents to be vigilant after a strand of hair wrapped around her 5-month-old’s toe acted as a tourniquet and cut off circulation for days.
Sara Ward, 33, told South West News Service that baby Logan could have lost the little piggy after the incident late last month.
Ward said she first noticed a line going across the middle toe of her son’s right foot late one Saturday evening but “didn’t think much of it.”
“It wasn’t looking alarming at that point and we figured maybe it had just got a little bit irritated by something,” the mom recalled in an interview.
However, by Monday, Logan’s toe was still swelling and had turned purple. Ward and her partner rushed to the pediatrician to see what was wrong.
The medic told them it was hair tourniquet syndrome: “a rare clinical phenomenon that involves hair, thread, or similar material becoming so tightly wrapped around an appendage that it results in injury.”
The strand of hair that was wrapped around Logan’s toe was so thin that doctors were worried they could not remove it without surgery.
“They spent a good 40 minutes or so trying to get the hair and they had all these different tools that they were using — tweezers, magnifying goggles and special lights,” Ward recalled. “The toe was very painful for my son so he was crying and kicking and couldn’t keep still as they were trying to get a better look at it.”
The rattled mom continued: “They tried hair removal cream to try and break down the hair pieces and some numbing cream to get deeper with tweezers.”
Doctors decided to keep Logan in the hospital overnight to monitor the toe and make sure the hair had been properly removed and that his circulation was restored.
The following day, Ward and her partner were relieved that the tot’s toe had returned to a healthy pink color. They were able to be discharged without Logan having to undergo surgery.
However, she and other perturbed parents are determined to raise awareness about the dangers of hair tourniquet syndrome, so other moms and dads don’t have to go through the same drama.
Registered nurse and postpartum care expert Karrie Lochner recently shared a message about what parents can do to prevent the issue.
“I think it’s great to do a quick ‘once-over’ on your baby with each diaper change,” she wrote. “Undress them, rub your thumb along their fingers and toes, also taking a close look at their genitals (yep, even girls!).
“When these are seen, they need to be removed immediately,” she added, mentioning in her stories that parents can use hair removal cream such as Nair or nail scissors to release the tourniquet. “If the hair is embedded deeply into the appendage, and unable to be removed by the parents at home, please take baby to the hospital ASAP.
“A lot of people think ‘It’s just a piece of hair, how can you not see it and get it?’ but it’s really difficult with the swelling and the skin starts to kind of form over the hair,” Ward explained. “Now I’m always checking his toes and fingers now and making sure that I’m not seeing any hairs getting wrapped around them.
The incident took place just before the popular parenting page @tinyheartseducation warned of the syndrome on Instagram.
“While hair tourniquets are rare, they require quick recognition and treatment to prevent long-term damage to the body part,” the account’s owners wrote beneath a shocking social media post.
“They’re most commonly seen on infants and toddlers due to their inability to tell us what is going on and where they have pain. Infants who are less than 4 months old are most at risk because 90% of mamas experience postpartum hair loss.”
The post garnered thousands of likes, with multiple moms flocking to the comments section to claim their kids had been victims of hair tourniquet syndrome.
“We have a furry cat and man the amount of fur that gets wrapped around our little one’s fingers and toes are insane,” one user wrote.