INTRODUCTION: Child homicides are rare but serious crimes. In this study the homicide rate and the development in the crime pattern will be investigated. MATERIAL AND METHODS: The investigation is retrospective and comprises the 34 years during which the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Odense has existed. During this period 41 children under the age of 15 were killed in 30 episodes. RESULTS: The most frequent method of homicide was manual strangulation, and the second most frequent was blunt violence. It is demonstrated that the incidence of child homicide has decreased considerably compared to a previous investigation comprising all of Denmark. By far the largest decrease is in homicides committed by women against their own children, which have often been followed by suicide (family homicides). The decrease in family homicides committed by men is much less. Today men commit family homicides 8 times as frequently as women in the area under investigation. DISCUSSION: A possible explanation for the decreasing number of homicides committed by women against their own children is the decreased use of gas for cooking, whereby a frequent homicide method disappeared, and by improved socio-economic life conditions and gender balance. Men are now responsible for the majority of family homicides. Preventative measures for men in socially traumatic situations such as a divorce are recommended.