chapter  3
32 Pages

Intentional Suffocation in Infants and Young Children

ByKAREN J. GRIEST

Asphyxia can be defined as the injuries to the body caused by oxygen deficiency (hypoxia) due to impairment or interruption of the oxygen supply or utilization in the tissues. The term suffocation in forensic medicine applies to cases in which environmental suffocation (inadequate oxygen in the atmosphere due to environmental conditions), smothering (due to mechanical obstruction of the nose and mouth), choking (due to blockage of the internal airways), or mechanical factors (due to strangulation or pressure on the chest) lead to asphyxia (Table 3.1).1