(Received 10 May 2002; accepted 3 May 2002)
Published Online: November
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Lanyard chains are commonly worn around the neck to hold keys and identification badges. A ten-year-old Black male child was home alone jumping and swinging of the raised crossbars on his mother's four-poster bed. He commonly did this. He also wore a lanyard around his neck with his house key, which he used to let himself in after school. His mother found him hanging on the corner of the bedpost by the lanyard when she returned from work. The death scene showed that he was jumping on the bed and the lanyard hooked over the top of the corner bedpost, causing first and second cervical vertebrae dislocation of an abrupt “drop-type” hanging with neck abrasion marks. Lanyards, or any loose rope material around the neck, are inherently dangerous due to their strength and ability to catch fixed or moving objects. Safety modifications to the lanyards are easily made with “breakaway” Velcro-type or plastic clip fasteners. This is the first reported case of an accidental hanging after review of the medical literature and files of the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission.
Assistant medical examiner, Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, Chicago, IL
Stock #: JFS15573J