Her Baby Wouldnâ€™t Stop Crying, So the ER Doctor Checked the Babyâ€™s Feet
One of the most heartbreaking frustrations for new parents is that moment when you canâ€™t figure out why your baby is crying. When heâ€™s fed, rested, dry and healthy, what else could possibly be wrong? Itâ€™â€™s not like any of us would ever let something sharp anywhere near the baby, so something poking him is outâ€” but he could be in pain for a more sneaky, surprising reason. As Mommyish and Today report, one of the most dangerous things for babies is . . . stray hairs?
It sounds crazy, but itâ€™s true. Stray hairs can wrap themselves around your babyâ€™s toes, forming whatâ€™s known as â€śhair tourniquetsâ€ť that cut off blood supply, slice through skin, and, of course, cause immense pain an infant canâ€™t possibly communicate. While hair might seem soft, it actually has a high tensile strength â€“ the amount of force required to pull something â€“ and once itâ€™s wrapped and knotted, itâ€™s difficult to undo and rare for it to unwrap itself naturally. Today elaborates:
Parenting and youth development expert Dr. Debi Gilboa told TODAY.com that a hair tourniquet is one of the many risks young children face, but not many parents know about it. â€śThis is something all pediatric interns are taught to look for when baby or a preverbal toddler is inconsolable,â€ť she said. A hair tourniquet happens because a lot of parents have long hair and babies tend to grab it or a piece of it can end up in places like their diaper or sock without you [even] noticing. â€śIf you feel like your child is behaving in a way thatâ€™s unusual, pay attention to it. Youâ€™re usually right,â€ť Gilboa said. â€śA hair tourniquet is a great thing to check for and itâ€™s not hard to spot. Thereâ€™s not really any way to prevent it, but theyâ€™re not that hard to remove. Use something like a bobby pin, so itâ€™s thin and not sharp, slide it between the hair and the skin and it pops right off. If you feel uncomfortable call your doctor.â€ť
Why are toes such a particular problem? Because theyâ€™re more often covered, especially in colder months, and hairs can easily become stuck in sock fibers. (Diapers can be a problem too, so check in those areas too, especially if your baby is a boy.) While youâ€™d likely notice one hanging around a finger, you wouldnâ€™t see one around a toeâ€” until your baby starts crying.
So when those cries just wonâ€™t stop, you know what to do: go on hair patrol. Have any of you ever experienced a â€śhair tourniquetâ€ť before? Is this syndrome something youâ€™ve heard of from your pediatrician?