skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 219262 Find in a Library
Title: Infant Death Scene Investigation and the Assessment of Potential Risk Factors for Asphyxia: A Review of 209 Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:52  Issue:4  Dated:July 2007  Pages:924-929
Author(s): Melissa A. Pasquale-Styles M.D.; Patricia L. Tackitt R.N., M.S.; Carl J. Schmidt M.D.
Date Published: July 2007
Page Count: 6
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper reports on the results of thorough scene investigations of 209 sudden and unexpected infant deaths (ages 3 days to 12 months) conducted by the Wayne County Medical Examiner Office (Detroit, MI.) from 2001 to 2004.
Abstract: This study suggests that asphyxia plays a greater role in many sudden infant deaths than has been historically attributed to it. Based on position of the infants' bodies at discovery (overlays, entrapments, strangulations, noses and mouths blocked, and or heads covered, a minimum of 108 infants (51.7 percent) died of asphyxia (too little oxygen and too much carbon dioxide in the blood). Sixty-four of these scenarios with the greatest index of suspicion for asphyxia occurred in the 2-4 month age group, with 39 occurring in the 2-month age group alone. This is a conservative estimate of asphyxia deaths, since it does not take into account infants who died in high-risk sleep situations such as bed-sharing with more than one person on a bed or couch but with no witnessed overlay and no obstruction of the nose/mouth upon discovery of the infant. A prone position with the face down and nose and mouth obstructed was observed at discovery for 64 cases (30.6 percent). In a few cases, the infant was prone but lacked any demonstrable obstruction of the nose and mouth. Deaths of Black infants substantially outnumbered the deaths of White infants, and male infant deaths outnumbered female infant deaths in each of the two racial categories. The disparity did not correlate with the demographic distribution of race and sex in the population of the jurisdiction of the Wayne County Medical Examiner Office. 3 tables and 25 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Asphyxiation; Death investigations; Infant (0-4); Michigan; Sudden infant death syndrome
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.