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We've all seen it in movies. A villian suffocates one of his/her victims with a pillow while they sleep, killing them in a matter if a minute or so.

Whenever I've pushed my head into a pillow as far as it will go, I can still breathe. I even asked one of my friends to pretend to smother me (very realistically) and I could still breathe through the pillow.

Is this form of suffocation a myth?

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up vote 25 down vote accepted

In Belgium there is a well known and documented case (I think it even included video footage) of an asylum seeker which died this way during her expulsion, so I guess there is at least some truth to it. Definitely also depend on other factors as the type of pillow and the force applied. Read about the case here:

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Source 1:

A young mother has been arrested after her four-year-old son was suffocated to death with a pillow in a domestic tragedy

Source 2:

Reeves died as a result of asphyxia from being smothered with a pillow.

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