Pediatric constrictive asphyxia a rare form of child abuse: A report of two cases

M. E.M. Vester, R. A.C. Bilo, H. G.T. Nijs, R. R. van Rijn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We present two cases of infants who died under suspicious circumstances. After clinical and legal investigations, non-accidental constrictive asphyxia inflicted by one of the parents was established. The first case presents a to date not yet reported, unique mechanism of trauma. In order to stop his daughter from crying, the father admitted that he sometimes sat on his baby while she was lying on the bed. Occasionally increasing his force by pulling with his hands on the bottom of the bed. In the second case tight swaddling and encircling chest compression was the causative mechanism. In both cases the father was sentenced to imprisonment with mandate psychiatric care. Only two previous reports of this uncommon and relatively unknown cause of child abuse, called constrictive asphyxia, are known. In all reported cases static loading of the chest resulted in rib fractures and demise of the child. This rare abusive mechanism should be known to pediatric radiologists and pathologists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e17-e20
JournalForensic Science International
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Asphyxia
  • Child abuse
  • Forensic medicine
  • Post mortem radiology
  • Rib fracture


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