Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

An Unusual Case of Unintentional Firearm Death of a 3-Year-Old Child

Lancia, Massimo MD; Rosati, Valentina MD; Gioia, Sara MD; Conforti, Federica MD; Suadoni, Fabio MD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: September 2014 - Volume 35 - Issue 3 - p 178–180
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000104
Case Reports

The authors report the case of an accidental death of a 3-year-old child who unintentionally shot himself while he was handling his father’s handgun.

The peculiarity of the observed injury makes the case particularly interesting, along with the fact that, in Italy, unintentional firearm-related deaths are rather uncommon among children and adolescents.

Because of the presence of only 1 bullet hole on the parietal-occipital region, radiological cranial examinations were performed before proceeding with the autopsy.

Computed tomographic scans were useful to confirm the entrance site of the bullet and, especially, to establish the trajectory with the whole spectrum of fractures.

The case shows that the unusual entrance site of the bullet through the nose led to a fatal cranial injury, as a result of curiosity of a 3-year-old child in the presence of an unsupervised handgun.

From the Section of Legal Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.

Manuscript received November 29, 2013; accepted April 28, 2014.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Massimo Lancia, MD, Section of Legal Medicine, University of Perugia, Via del Giochetto, 06126 Perugia, Italy. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.