An unexpected infant death is usually investigated with a complete autopsy. If evidence of prior trauma is found at autopsy in these cases, suspicion is raised for nonaccidental trauma. In a young infant, the residua of trauma received during birth has the potential to be incorrectly interpreted as nonaccidental trauma.
We report a the findings of a 4 1/2-month-old-infant that died unexpectedly with a healing linear skull fracture and a circular lesion over the calvarium found at autopsy. Though this lesion was concerning, the remainder of the autopsy and the histological findings did not support a diagnosis of recent trauma. Review of the literature describing birth injuries made the diagnosis of healing, residual birth trauma more convincing in this case.