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Type: Journal article
Title: The value of death scene examination in the recognition of unsafe sleeping conditions in the young
Author: Byard, R.
Citation: Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, 2009; 41(2):147-153
Publisher: Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences
Issue Date: 2009
ISSN: 0045-0618
Statement of
Roger Byard
Abstract: Although protocols for death scene examination in cases of unexpected infant and early childhood death have been widely available for over a decade, approaches lack standardisation. In addition, scene examinations are not mandatory in all countries and there has not been uniform support for their implementation. It is, however, well recognised that certain causes of death will not be identified if only pathological findings at autopsy are relied upon. These cases particularly involve accidental asphyxia in the young. Unless full death scene examinations are conducted by trained personnel as soon as possible after death vital information may be lost. Careful re-enactment of the scene with a doll surrogate and photographic and video recordings will enable clear and permanent documentation of findings. Obtaining full death scene information will greatly help in identifying potentially dangerous sleeping situations and/or devices that will assist in preventing future deaths through community awareness campaigns. It will also facilitate subsequent peer review of cases if required. Although more information on a case may increase the complexity of subsequent analyses this should not be a disincentive to conducting full inquiries.
Keywords: death scene examination
infant death
DOI: 10.1080/00450610903147693
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest
Pathology publications

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