The Leading Cause Of Death Of U.S. Children?

Children in the United States receive unwavering support from the government. However, a silent crisis looms in the shadows, claiming thousands of children’s lives every year and leaving families shattered by grief. This grim reality is not caused by traffic accidents or illnesses; it’s death by firearms.

As the most developed country in the world, the U.S. has successfully decreased deaths in children caused by accidents, diseases, and malnourishment. However, deaths caused by firearms have been rapidly increasing in the past decade and have now become the leading cause of death in children in the U.S.

The Leading Cause of Death in Children

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and researchers at three different academic centres, firearms are the leading cause of death in children.

The CDC has published reliable data on the leading causes of death among various demographic groups. Data from these sources revealed that firearms were the leading cause of death in 2020 among children between the ages of 1 and 18. The total number of such deaths was 3,219, followed by deaths caused by traffic accidents, which numbered 2,883.

The Leading Cause Of Death Of U.S. Children?
The Leading Cause Of Death Of U.S. Children?

Johns Hopkins Report

In “A Year in Review: 2020 Gun Deaths in the U.S.,” Johns Hopkins researchers reviewed the CDC’s 2020 report and discovered that gun violence was the number one cause of death among children, teens, and young adults below the age of 25. They also found that this leading cause of death was the same for children and teens between the ages of 1 and 19, with a total death count of 4,357.

Additionally, the report revealed that gun violence resulted in more deaths in 2020 compared to any other year.

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Rockefeller Institute of Government Report

Researchers at the Rockefeller Institute of Government used the same CDC data to establish that firearm deaths exceeded traffic deaths for individuals 19 and below. However, this analysis did not include infant-related deaths, such as congenital abnormalities and short gestation.

Both Johns Hopkins and Rockefeller researchers found that infants are typically not included when reviewing the leading causes of death among “children.” This is because infants have specific fatal conditions that are exclusive to children below the age of one.

When including infants, the rankings for leading causes of death in children between 0 and 18 change, as congenital abnormalities become the most common cause of death in this age group, surpassing deaths caused by firearms.

In 2020, there were 4,403 deaths due to congenital abnormalities, 3,141 deaths due to short gestation or preterm birth and low birth weight, and 1,389 deaths resulting from sudden infant death syndrome. Additionally, there were 11 infant deaths caused by firearm violence during the same year.

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Statement by Majority Leader Charles Schumer

Majority Leader Charles Schumer made a statement on the Senate floor acknowledging that “the leading cause of death among children is a firearm.” He referred to two mass shooting incidents at Robb Elementary and Buffalo Supermarket in Texas.

In his speech, Schumer called on other members to enact stricter gun laws in the nation.

Schumer cited a letter from the University of Michigan researchers published in the New England Journal of Medicine as his source.

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Amna Aslam
Amna Aslam
Amna Aslam is a final year medical student. You will often find her in a corner binge watching a show on Netflix or reading the latest gossip when she is not busy in the hospital or going through her books.

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