The Leading Causes of Death in Children in the U.S.
The U.N.’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?
To be able to prevent something, a cause must be identified. So, let’s explore some of the leading causes of death in children and adolescents in the U.S.
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.
Educating young people on road safety rules is essential, and paying attention to behavioral habits may put them or others at risk.
2. Death by Firearms or Related Injuries
According to a study by A.A.P. Publications, between 2012-2014, an estimated 1,300 children died each year from a firearm-related injury.
Among these deaths, 53% were homicides, 38% were suicides, and firearms unintentionally caused 6%. 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. However, 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.
Death by mechanical suffocation is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 1. Some people attribute this to increased bed-sharing, defective cribs, and 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. It is estimated that every day, ten people die from unintentional drowning in the U.S.A. alone. And from these 10, two are said to be children under 14.
Children between the ages of 1 to 4 are said to be at the highest risk for drowning fatalities. Therefore, it is essential to supervise your child at all times, particularly in swimming pools and the beach, where they are prone to such injuries. However, even if you are highly vigilant, you can 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 significant 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 drug abuse risks and cautioning them on the dangers of overdose.
7. Congenital Anomalies
Some common congenital anomalies include down syndrome and defects in young children’s neural tubes or hearts. These anomalies are called “congenital disabilities” and are generally associated with genetics, environment, and infections like rubella or other S.T.D.s.
Pregnant women need proper nutrition and easy, affordable access to medical facilities to prevent these deaths. In addition, exposure to x-rays, tobacco, and other harmful substances must be avoided.
8. Heat Failure or Other Kinds of Heart Disease
Heart disease may present 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, check them out as soon as possible.
Heart defects are prevalent 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 ensure that objects like lighters, matches, and other fire hazards are kept out of reach of young children, particularly those below the ages.
10. Respiratory Diseases
Respiratory diseases account for 9 million deaths yearly for children under five all across the globe. These include conditions 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 exact causes of death in children, like road accidents, cancers, and respiratory diseases, some factors remain unique to the younger demographic and vice versa.
Diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and strokes are more likely to affect adults than children. However, in both demographics of the population, many questions remain 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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