Pathological findings in hanging and wedging deaths in infants and young children

Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 1993 Dec;14(4):296-302. doi: 10.1097/00000433-199312000-00005.


Records of the Adelaide Children's Hospital Histopathology Department were reviewed for cases of deaths resulting from hanging or wedging occurring in early childhood and infancy. The 14 cases identified were analyzed with respect to age, sex, circumstances of death, and postmortem findings. The mean age at death was 14 months (range, 6-36 months) and the male to female ratio was 9:5. In one case, death occurred in a baby car seat, another in a pram/stroller, and in another a curtain cord was responsible. In the remaining 11 cases, death occurred in the baby's crib. In eight cases the mechanism of death was hanging with partial suspension, including six cases in which part of the infant's clothing became caught on the crib. Petechial hemorrhages on the face were found in all of the hanging deaths whereas intrathoracic petechiae were identified in only two cases. Only one of the wedging deaths showed facial petechiae whereas intrathoracic petechiae were identified in four of the six cases. Conjunctival hemorrhages were only recorded in only two of the 14 cases.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Accidents*
  • Asphyxia / etiology*
  • Asphyxia / pathology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Death, Sudden / etiology*
  • Female
  • Forensic Medicine*
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Equipment*
  • Male
  • Neck / pathology
  • Neck Injuries
  • Purpura / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies