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Why NOT to Use a RED Body Bag

Updated on January 6, 2012

A Personal Plea

Many people do not realize that body bags are not made just in the color black. While that is the popular color that is used in T.V. shows, body bags are actually made in a variety of colors. Maybe there is a reason, perhaps for the sake of the first responding officers, that these colors are produced, but they need to not be used on the bodies that will be seen by the families. Let's do as this mother suggests, and keep in line with the solemnity of the occasion by using only black body bags where family members will see them. It is such a small thing that would mean so much.

The entry below was written last year. It was written by a grieving mother who was trying to figure out why the red body bag that her son was wheeled out in caused so much anxiety, anger and added grief to her issue of loss. In writing, she found her answer and a measure of peace by understanding why. She has offered this intensely personal insight in the hopes that it will help someone else to avoid the same added pain by making the "authorities" in this matter aware of the added anguish it can cause. It is being published here in the hopes that officers and others who deal with the dead will see it and think twice about the choice of color that they use on the dead, especially when members of the family will see the body in the bag. It is done too, for those people who manufacture, produce and order these body bags for their crews. It is also done specifically for those who train others in handling sudden death cases so that they can train their students to be cognizant of this issue and use BLACK body bags in at least these visual instances.

I encourage anyone reading this to forward it to anyone who has to choose what color to conceal those beloved family member's bodies in these dreadful bags. Please remember the color of respect, black, and the fact that a new, brighter color is simply a shock on the family members and has the power to add so much pain. Thank you. Signed: Those That Have Held The Grieving.

Why A RED Body Bag?

Red body bags should be illegal.

My son died earlier this year. Technically, it was suicide; a gunshot through the temples with a .40 caliber handgun. When something like this happens, it is completely devastating. It doesn’t matter how old he was, he was my baby, especially then.

Any death is a somber occasion, but a suicide is especially so. When people go to a funeral, they often wear black. Black shows a respect for the occasion. It is generally understood that wearing red to a funeral would, in the very least, be in very bad taste.

Red is an alarming color. It is the color of blood; an open wound; an emergency. It is used to catch attention, to warn of a serious hazard, and to cause one to stop proceeding. All of these things apply to a violent suicide; but red is still inappropriate on the violently dead. The color red screams out at you, but in a situation like this, isn’t there enough screaming, even if only in one’s head? It’s the sound of a mother’s heart being savagely ripped apart.

Maybe these are the reasons that a RED body bag is so wrong. It intensifies and adds to all the pain and anguish that is already going on.

Red is the color of something infected, something festering before it turns to gangrene and all feeling is gone; just like a mother’s heart in the months after experiencing this kind of news. Why would anyone want to add a visual aid to reinforce the horror of a night that will already be burned into a mother’s every waking moment?


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      Sindee 12 months ago

      Thanks for the backup. The coroner didn't say that they didn't exist, but that there were many colors. The other commenter said they were only used for those in the Illuminati, also not true. I feel sorry for the family and friends of the homicide victim, if they are using this glaring color for such a violent crime. I also feel bad for them because there are those who obviously might mistake the victim for the Illuminati. :(

    • profile image

      Stephen Aukerman 12 months ago

      To the guy who said red body bags don't exist I'm watching the first 48 right now n just saw a red body bag used in a homicide in Miami

    • Sindee Palomino profile image

      Sindee Palomino 5 years ago

      Before writing this article, I had made some inquiries of the local coroner's office concerning the use of this red bag. He stated that there were other colors and when specifically asked why a red one would be used he indicated that there were no reasons to use one color over another.

    • profile image

      Unknown 5 years ago

      Wikipedia-Body bags are sometimes portrayed in films and television as being made of a heavy black plastic. Lightweight white body bags have since become popular because it is much easier to spot a piece of evidence that may have been jostled from the body in transit on a white background than on a black background. Even so black body-bags are still in general use. Other typical colors include orange, blue, or gray.

      Therefore Red is Never used, Unfortunately only if the Illuminati is involved.

    • Sindee Palomino profile image

      Sindee Palomino 5 years ago

      I'm not sure exactly what you call the "aftermath", but this mother SAW and could touch the body bag. She watched them wheel her son's body out of the house, in that red bag, and put him into the transport van. Then they asked her if she wanted to spend a moment next to him to say good-bye. Paramedics are NOT the only ones to see the bodies in the bags, the transport men and sherriff were also there, along with the mother. I am glad for you if you didn't see any of this.

      I am sorry that people like you cannot see past their own experiences to be able to understand another's pain. The woman who wrote this article had ADDITIONAL pain added to her suffering because of the color of the bag. We cannot always understand why something triggers pain for one, and not another. Perhaps it is because you did not see the bag yourself that you were spared this pain. It was only by writing the enclosure that she was able to move past the additional pain and anger that THE COLOR of the bag made. It took many months, and only by that writing to understand "why", did she find peace in that matter. Did it relieve the pain of her loss? No, but it DID relieve the added pain and anger she was suffering. Try talking with those who have had someone show up to a funeral wearing something 'in bad taste', maybe too flamboyant a style or color or an insensitive action, and ask the MOTHER how it made HER feel to see such disrepect.

      I think it is time for some to "grow up" and find REAL COMPASSION. To not understand the differences in what triggers grief is narrow and shallow and only reflects a self-centeredness on the one not understanding. Not everyone is a MOTHER of a deceased child, nor does everyone react in the same way to death. Suicides have many reasons and the reasons make a difference in the responses, as does the relationship of the deceased to the grieving. I hope that your type is few and far between. This was a "real complaint", just not for you.

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      Lost family 5 years ago

      No matter the color of the bag it will hurt! I have lost both parents 2 brothers, 5 sisters. One by suicide. The bag color was NOT the issue!!! Our pain was! The bag can be pink or purple! No one else saw the aftermath but the paramedics. Grow up, find a real complaint.

    • Sindee Palomino profile image

      Sindee Palomino 6 years ago

      In the third paragraph, colors are referred to as "new". This refers to the fact that the color other than black is often new to the family of the deceased, and can be a shock in itself, not that is a new practice.

      Thank you for reading and "Sharing" this.