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Hair tourniquet syndrome: a hidden danger that can happen to any baby

Hair tourniquet syndrome, according to the Medscape website, “involves hair, thread, or similar material becoming so tightly wrapped around an appendage that it results in pain, injury, and sometimes, loss of the appendage.”

Image from Wikimedia Commons.
Image from Wikimedia Commons.

In early February, Kansas-native Scott Walker shared on the internet a particularly frightening moment they went through when their infant daughter suffered hair tourniquet syndrome.

Walker recalled that his daughter Molly just started crying and was inconsolable. She then started to develop a high fever. To help cool her down, Walker and his wife started to undress Molly. When they took her socks off, they noticed something very unusual with one of her toes.

Apparently, a strand of hair had gotten wrapped around one of her toes and was restricting blood circulation.

“Luckily for Molly,” Walker relates, “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… 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 Medscape website explains that “most cases of hair-wrapping occur in young children; the age range of finger-wrapping is 4 days to 19 months, and penile involvement is 4 months to 6 years. Labial and clitoral-wrapping have been described in an older age group (7-13 years.)”

Walker decided to share his experience online to make other parents aware of this condition.


“The doctor told me, for future reference, to always check the toes if the baby is inconsolable. Just an FYI to any parents or caretakers out there,” said Walker.

Written by Bambi Eloriaga-Amago

Bambi is a freelance writer/editor who is a big fan of Marvel, Star Wars, and all things geeky. Aside from her geek obsessions, she's also an aspiring cat lady with three cats in her household. She's also a devoted mom and wife.

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