The Leading Causes of Death in Children in the U.S.

The UN’s Child Mortality organization estimates that the United States has a child mortality rate of 6.53 per 1000 children under five years old. This number drops significantly between the ages of five and 14, but the more pressing question remains – what causes these deaths in the first place?

In order to be able to prevent something, a cause must be identified. So, let’s explore some of the main causes of death in children and adolescents of the US.

1. Motor-Vehicle Crashes or Road Accidents

Motor vehicle crashes contribute a significant amount to the death of young children. Probable causes of death include inexperienced teen drivers, peer pressure and speeding, drunk driving, and other road-related mishaps.

It is important to educate young people on road safety rules and pay attention to behavioral habits that may put them or others at risk.

2. Death by Firearms or Related Injuries

According to a study done by the AAP Publications, between the years 2012-2014, an estimate of 1,300 children died each year due to a firearm-related injury.

Among these deaths, 53% were homicides, 38% were suicides and 6% of these were caused unintentionally with the use of a firearm. The remaining 3% were caused due to legal intervention. However, it is to be noted that the study concludes that the statistical risk for firearm-related deaths (or injuries) remains higher in younger boys than girls.

3. Malignant Neoplasm

Malignant neoplasm is a kind of cancerous tumor that is common in children. When this tumor remains untreated or treated too late (as it often is) it can continue to spread, cause organ damage and be fatal to the child. Sometimes the tumors can be “benign” – a term used to describe non-cancerous tumors.

However, a “malignant” tumor, is cancerous and must be treated as soon as possible.

Some of the other common types of cancers include leukemia, neuroblastoma, bone cancer, and lymphoma.

4. Suffocation

Death by mechanic suffocation is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 1. Some people attribute this to the increase in bed-sharing, defective cribs, the use of stuffed blankets, toys, animals, and other objects placed next to the child.

5. Drowning Accidents

Drowning accidents are far too common among children and adults alike. In fact, it is estimated that every day, 10 people die from unintentional drowning in the U.S.A, alone. And from these 10, two are said to be children aged under 14.

Children between the ages of 1 to 4 are said to be at the highest risk for drowning fatalities. It is important to supervise your child at all times, particularly in places like swimming pools and the beach where they are prone to such injuries. Even if you are extremely vigilant, you can also consider using floaters and other water safety equipment to protect your child.

6. Overdose and Poisoning

A drug overdose refers to the consumption of a drug in higher quantities than a medical recommendation. This is a huge cause of death and injuries particularly among adolescents and younger teenagers.

In 2016, it was estimated that 3.6% of children aged between 12-17 participated in the misuse of opioids. Some ways of preventing such deaths are talking to your children about the risks surrounding drug abuse and cautioning them on the dangers of overdose.

7. Congenital Anomalies

Some common examples of congenital anomalies include down syndrome and defects in the neural tubes or hearts of young children. These kinds of anomalies are also called “birth defects” and are generally associated with genetics, environment, and infections like rubella or other STDs.

To prevent these kinds of deaths it is important for pregnant women to get the right nutrition and easy, affordable access to medical facilities. Exposure to x-rays, tobacco, tobacco, and other harmful substances must be avoided at all costs.

8. Heat Failure or Other Kinds of Heart Disease

Heart disease may present itself as breathing difficulties, tiredness, and fatigue in children. Other symptoms include swelling of the muscles, nausea, and lack of appetite. If you notice these symptoms in your child, do get them checked out as soon as you can.

Heart defects are extremely common and can be fatal if untreated. However, it presents itself differently in children, than it does in adults.

9. Fire Related Accidents

Fire-related accidents can be prevented by adding forms of fire safety to your home and ensuring that young children are under supervision whenever possible. You can also make sure that objects like lighters, matches, and other fire hazards are kept out of reach of young children, particularly those below the ages often.

10. Respiratory Diseases

Respiratory diseases account for 9 million deaths every year for children under the age of five all across the globe. These include diseases like pneumonia, asthma, lung cancer, and more.

If you’ve had the misfortune of losing a child recently to any of these diseases, and are considering cremation, visit this website for more information.

Causes of Death in Children vs Adults

While adults share some of the same causes of death in children, like road accidents, cancers, and respiratory diseases, there are some factors that remain unique to the younger demographic and vice versa.

Diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and strokes are naturally more likely to affect adults than children. However, in both demographics of the population, there remains a lot of questions unanswered and a lot to be researched. But even though the unpredictability of life continues to prevail, let us prevent all the fatalities we can!

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