Suffocation is a common cause of death among infants, toddlers, and young children. Suffocation can happen very easily and it can occur in a wide variety of situations. Deaths have resulted when children put plastic bags over their head or when they have become tangled up in dry-cleaning bags. Children have suffocated when they were placed in waterbeds, and everything from toy boxes to snow tunnels are potential suffocation hazards.


In a controlled test situation a six-week old child was placed on a water bed and video taped. The tape showed the infant falling asleep face down. Her face, including the nose and mouth, remained trapped relatively immobile in the depression. (Hazards of Mattresses, Beds and Bedding Deaths of Infants. The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology 12(1):27-32, 1991)


Keep in mind the following tips to help prevent suffocation:

Copyright 1997 Safety Health Publishing Inc.

Martin Lesperance is a fire fighter/paramedic and is the author of the best selling book "I Won’t be in to Work Today – Preventing Injuries at Home, Work and Play" . Martin delivers keynote presentations dealing with injury prevention. His talks are funny, but still have a strong underlying message. Visit his website at