((Alright, so! I don't even know if this is the right place to ask, but I hope to hear your thoughts. Sorry for the morbid topic and thanks in advance!))

In a comic I'll eventually draw, there's this 6 year old child that's running for her life from a guard, and her breathing is (naturally) all out of sorts. She's about to faint from exhaustion, so she leans on a wall, giving up, and starts slipping into unconsciousness. The guard that's chasing her catches up to her and grabs her - Important: from behind- from the scruff of her shirt as she's falling over. The guard also kind of yanks her backwards, but the main position is the one after she's yanked, where she falls forward again, and the guard keeps her in place by having a tight grip on her shirt collar.

Just to give you an idea, i made a sketch in Word to roughly show the pose im going for. If it's not very helpful, I hope you at least get a kick out of it!

poorly made sketch i did in word even worse word sketch i did

The second picture is the position that's kept after being yanked back, while the first is momentary.

The guard wraps their hand around the shirt's collar, so the grip is tight against the kid's throat and doesn't allow for much movement (though I want to point out, the child is exhausted and can't really move even if she wanted to. That's the reason why she doesn't just put her feet below her to properly support her weight.)

One important thing to mention about the position is that, while the girl is still "standing" on the ground, (she's partially on her feet ((but barely))) , her neck/throat essentially supports, say, about 70% of her body weight, in an angle diagonal to the ground.

So, to summarise, we have a small, 20 kg child (or ~40 pounds i think, for the americans here!) that is still catching her breath from running as hard as she can, that is suddenly semi-suspended from her throat in a way that puts pressure primarily to her larynx (or windpipe). The guard has a strong grip around the neck -via the shirt-, but otherwise doesn't do anything else.

What I want to ask is: would the shirt collar act like a makeshift noose in this particular scenario? Would the girl actually feel strangled or would she just be in a very uncomfortable position with a lot of pressure on her throat but otherwise fine? Is her body weight even enough to cause strangling?

If anybody has any knowledge about this, it would immensely help, as this has been bugging me for days and I can't find any concrete information to say it could or couldn't happen!!

(for anyone interested or understandably concerned about all this morbid stuff, the guard chooses not to kill the girl in the end and adopts her. I still want to bring justice to their first meeting though, even if it's anything but happy!)

A big thank you to anyone who managed to reach the end of my ramblings!!

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for answering! Could you elaborate on what you mean by the neck and the body being on different sides of the suspension point? Otherwise, I have a feeling you're spot on. See, I asked here because it's kinda embarrassing to ask a person I know "Hey, can I check if you'll choke me real quick?!" $\endgroup$
    – katekat
    Nov 21, 2021 at 2:47
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, gotcha! It's okay if you don't want to reply, you've helped me a lot already, but just in case: the shirt itself is loose, the collar as well, but the guard wraps it around their hand so it becomes a tight collar in a sense? It becomes tight enough to wrap around the throat. But even then, I think the rest of the shirt would still become tight on the chest and armpits, as you said. You're probably right though, everything you said so far makes perfect sense. $\endgroup$
    – katekat
    Nov 21, 2021 at 3:18
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    $\begingroup$ Just wanted to reassure: you have indeed asked your query in the right place! We are here to help with underlying rules & principles of your fictional worlds & settings, and this certainly falls into that category. I think you can safely edit out the "child abuse" bit from the title (this isn't an example of child abuse, it's an example of a guard doing his job) and it's really not that morbid, all things considered! You might consider retagging the question as "science based" rather than "hard science". Unless you actually need equations and measurements and medical journal articles! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Nov 21, 2021 at 4:41
  • $\begingroup$ she wouldn't hang like that. her knees would buckle and she'd hang straignt down from the neck. the CoG has to be under the hand holding her up, in the static situation. $\endgroup$
    – ths
    Nov 21, 2021 at 16:25
  • $\begingroup$ For the last comment, 1: it completely escaped my mind that the CoG would be different, nice catch! And 2: if her knees buckle, which sounds about right, wouldn't that mean even MORE weight for the neck to support, since she's now in a position similar to hanging victims? (important to note: she's barely on her feet so they don't support her as much as they should). Thanks for your input tho, I have to think about this. ((Also, I changed the tags accordingly, for the other person)) $\endgroup$
    – katekat
    Nov 21, 2021 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


She will not choke from this.


My doll friend was happy to help with this project. Her open collar top puts no pressure on the front of her neck. The weight is actually carried under her arms and across the chest. You can see her top is tight underneath her arms. The collar actually opens wider. Her arms are pulled to the sides and stick out.

I think this same principle is why puppies or cats picked up by the scruff have their legs stick out in a weird way.


If you want to make sure readers know she is not strangling, show her open collar like I did with the doll. It looks like she is wearing a sailor-type japanese school uniform so that would be consistent.

Also, you can recruit an assistant and try it out. Have your assistant pull your collar and see where the garment puts pressure on you. Getting yanked hurts under the arms. The spine is tough. The experience will help you draw the arms realistically - not drooping down in front like your last drawing but splayed out uncomfortably like the puppy held by the scruff.

Last piece - look at the doll again. doll

The velcro holding her top closed is strained by this maneuver. If the guard is supporting your charatcer weight by her top and the buttons give, she can drop out of her top and escape in her undershirt.

Next page you can draw her in a giant coat down to her shins.

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    $\begingroup$ With dogs, it's important that you pick them up by the scruff, and not by their collars, which can actually be dangerous. $\endgroup$
    – Mary
    Nov 21, 2021 at 17:05
  • $\begingroup$ First of all, your doll friend is adorable and I thank it for the cooperation! Your explanation is very clear and easy to follow, but I have to reiterate: it's a simple loose shirt, even if the bad sketches don't really make that clear haha! So it's not an open collar shirt, but a simple shirt that (with the "help" of the guard) becomes really tight against her throat. I don't really know how to describe this, they wrap it around their hand so there's no excess fabric, and to have a firmer grip. Even so, thank you for your help and the pictures!! $\endgroup$
    – katekat
    Nov 21, 2021 at 20:07

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