Last night I let my exhaustion win out, and I brought our littlest into bed with me. My husband was out of town for work, so I decided I could share some bed space if it meant a better night’s sleep for the both of us, especially since she’s cutting all four molars, meaning sleep has been a sweet fantasy at our house lately.

This morning, my alarm sounded bright and early, and I flopped my hand over to shut it off. As I started to roll out of bed, my head jerked back. Ouch, I thought. She must be asleep on my hair. I pulled harder and couldn’t get it to budge. Then I heard her panicked whimper.

I cranked my neck around and was absolutely shocked at what I saw.

My hair was completely wrapped around her neck, and it was wrapped tight.

I pulled and pulled and it just seemed to get tighter. I frantically called my mom for what to do, and to come help me. I yelled loud enough to wake up our three-year-old, and asked him to turn on the light. I was so confused as to what was even happening.

The hair wouldn’t budge. I tried to get my fingers between my hair and her neck, but it was too tight. I couldn’t see her face, but she was barely fighting me, and I knew she probably wasn’t getting enough air.

I was getting ready to call 9-1-1, picturing paramedics breaking down my door because there was no way I could get up to unlock it. In a panicked, adrenaline-filled burst, I tore my hair. I tore a big enough chunk that I could get the rest off of her.

Then I pulled her close and sobbed. And so did she.

I was in absolute shock. She is 19 months old; I thought we were to the age that I didn’t have to worry about things like this.

When I had settled the both of us down and thanked God that it didn’t end worse, I researched. It turns out we aren’t the first ones this has happened to.

I don’t know how she got tangled in my hair, but it was by far one of the scariest moments of my life. I thought my daughter was going to strangle to death while she was attached to me; I don’t want any other parent to experience that fear.

I never would have dreamed something like this could happen . . . but if I can save one parent from going through it, telling my story is worth it. So, from one mother who learned the hard way the unexpected dangers long hair can pose, please be careful and aware. 

Caitlin Henderson

Caitlin Henderson is a small town girl from Kansas who fell in love with a farmer. They have three kids who keep her on her toes and always clinging to coffee. She is passionate about showing people Jesus, and telling the story of agriculture. She loves writing about their life full of grace, craziness, love, dirt, and cows.