Non-accidental head injury leading to massive intracranial trauma has been identified as a leading cause of death in small children. In a typical case, a child usually below the age of one year is violently shaken, leading to rupture of the connecting veins between the dura mater and the brain substance with variable degrees of bleeding into the subdural space resulting in increased intracranial pressure. The accompanying venous thrombosis affecting the vessels of the brain substance leads to cerebral hypoxia and cellular death. In this study conducted throughout the year 1999, all children below the age of 3 years who were admitted to Hospital Kuala Lumpur and had died due to non-accidental injuries were included. Postmortems, including histopathological studies, were conducted to determine the most likely mechanisms of the injuries. Ten cases were identified for the whole year. In 2 cases, both below one year of age, the features presented showed evidence of violent shaking of the infants. In 6 other cases whose average age was 13 (range 4-24) months, there were evidences of direct trauma and violent shaking. In the last two cases, aged 24 and 33 months respectively, there was only evidence of direct trauma on the heads without being shaken. This study shows that death due to intracranial trauma caused by shaking with or without direct impact is the most frequent cause of mortality in abused children. Death due to direct impact between the head and another object is a less frequent occurrence.