HOUSTON – While it may not be common, hair -- something babies commonly come in contact with -- can lead to strangulation, loss of blood supply to fingers or even death.
One local pediatrician said it is another reminder to practice safe sleeping habits.
Every year more than 2,000 babies die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or other sleep-related incidents.
Hair asphyxiation or a hair tourniquet can be a dangerous consequence of babies sleeping next to parents or siblings with long hair.
Dr. Matthew Wilber from Texas Children’s Pediatrics in Pearland said he has seen multiple cases where hair gets wrapped around a baby’s finger.
“Sometimes it’s really difficult to see the hair because the digit is so swollen,” Wilber explained. “The hair needs to be cut or treated with something that dissolves the hair.”
According to the National Institutes of Health, one child died this way in 2005 while sleeping with a parent. Wilber said a baby may not cry or know how to free itself, so you would not know it is happening.
“This generally happens with bed-sharing, where an infant is sharing a bed with someone who has long hair and the hair gets tangled around their neck and they’re unable to untangle the hair,” Wilber said.
Wilber recommends always putting your baby to sleep in a crib, by themselves, without any loose clothes, toys or bedding.
“Just a plain bassinet with a sheet that is covering the mattress, nothing on top and the baby dressed comfortably warm,” Wilber said.