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The death of a 10-year-old girl appeared to be a tragic accident in which the child's mother had tripped over a dog, police say.

The child, whom the Herald understands was severely disabled and missing limbs, was being carried by her mother at the family home in Christchurch when she tripped over the pet and fell, police believe. The child hit her head.

"The pathology matches what the lady carrying [the child] said, and it does have all the hallmarks of an accident," said Acting Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Murton.

"But until we get the full post mortem results, which won't be for a few weeks, we won't know for sure. But I'm certainly comfortable with that scenario at this stage, rather than anything sinister being involved."

The girl died in Christchurch Hospital in the early hours of Sunday after being taken there on Friday night.

Police have spoken to the girl's family and examined the home in the suburb of Hornby where she was injured. The child's body has been examined by a pathologist, but police said the results of the post mortem examination would not be known for at least two weeks.

It is still being considered whether the medical issues the child faced may have been a factor in her death.

The girl's body had been returned to the family who were "coping as best they can in the situation", Mr Murton said.

The curtains were pulled and blinds down at the house yesterday. Neighbours said the family tended to keep to themselves.