health

How a loose strand of hair landed a baby in the emergency department.

Image via iStock.

One of the upsides of pregnancy is gorgeous thick hair, and conversely one of the downsides once the baby comes is losing all that gloriousness.

But it might shock you to find out the postpartum shedding of hair can be harmful to your baby. As one Queensland family recently discovered when loose strands of mum’s hair landed their baby in the emergency department.

Evie Canavan, 31, noticed her three-month-old son’s toes were red and swollen when placing him in his car seat after a routine trip to the local shops last week.

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It was her partner who spotted some fine strands of blonde hair wrapped around the baby’s toes. After unsuccessfully trying to remove it themselves, the couple took Kurtis to the nearest medical centre. The staff there also had no luck in removing the hair, and advised the parents to admit him to Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.

“We went straight to emergency there and they took us straight in,” Ms Canavan told The Courier Mail.

“They got the hair loose on the toe next to the little one with some type of tool, but the doctor thought there was still some around it and they went and got the surgeon.

“Because of his age they had to take him into theatre and put him under general anaesthetic.”

Ms Canavan said her son didn’t have was on the floor shortly before they left the house, where she assumes her hair strands became wrapped around his toes.

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Most parents know about the dangers of loose threads in baby’s jumpsuits and socks, but are unaware how hair can get caught around infant and toddler’s extremities – a condition called Hair Tourniquet Syndrome.

According to the International Journal of Health and Medical Sciences:

Hair tourniquet syndrome is a rare yet potentially devastating entity in children. Hair-thread tourniquet syndrome involves fibres of hair or thread wrapped around an appendage (toe, finger, clitoris, penis etc.) producing tissue necrosis.

It is frequently missed or misdiagnosed leading to delayed diagnosis resulting in gangrene of toe or finger.

Doctors are warning parents to be on the lookout for this condition. The signs to look out for are a finger, ear, toe, penis with swelling along with a clear indentation. If you can’t fix it yourself, go straight to your closest emergency department. The “not common but it’s not uncommon” condition can occasionally cause tissue to die and require amputation (though this is a rare).

So while it’s yet one more thing to worry about, it’s a good reason to regularly peek at those cute extremities – and keep your stray hairs in check.