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November 12, 1973

Accidental Hangings Due to Pacifiers

Author Affiliations

Institute of Forensic Sciences Dallas

JAMA. 1973;226(7):790. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03230070050024

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To the Editor.—  The pacifier is generally looked on as a harmless device to soothe and quiet a crying child. In the past six months, however, the Office of the Medical Examiner in Dallas County has encountered two accidental hangings in infants, caused by pacifiers worn around the neck on a loop of ribbon or string.

Report of a Case.—Case 1.—  A 9-months-old white male infant was put to bed in a portable crib by his 29-year-old aunt. Around his neck was a pacifier, through which a loop of ribbon had been threaded. At 4 AM the next morning, he was found dead of hanging, from the ribbon around his neck. The pacifier had become entangled with a cross bar on the side of the crib, turning the loop of ribbon into a noose. The aunt said that the child "always wore" a pacifier around his neck.