Keeping our children safe is the number one priority for us as parents. From the very first moment we hold our precious newborns in our arms, a protective instinct takes over. Unfortunately, as much as we might try, there is only so much parents can do to shield their children from all the dangers in the outside world.

Here are the top three reasons — as provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine — for death among children in the United States, broken down by age category:

0 to 1 year

1) Genetic/developmental conditions present at birth

2) Conditions related to premature birth

3) Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

1 to 4 years

1) Accidents or unintentional injuries

2) Genetic/developmental conditions present at birth

3) Homicide

5 to 9 years

1) Accidents

2) Cancer

3) Genetic/developmental conditions present at birth

10 to 14 years

1) Accidents

2) Cancer

3) Suicide

15 to 24 years

1) Accidents

2) Suicide

3) Homicide

Tragically, there are nearly twice as many deaths within the first 12 months of life as there are in the next 13 years put together. After puberty, the death rate rises significantly due to increased risk for suicides, homicides and accidents.

As you can clearly see, accidents are the leading cause of death for children and teenagers. According to the National Library of Medicine, car accidents make up the greatest percentage of accidental deaths. With proper use of car seats, booster seats and seat belts, many of these deaths can be prevented. Other big contributors in the accidental death category include drowning, fire, falls and poisoning.

While it is impossible to prevent all of these accidental deaths, more awareness of issues like suicide, water safety, fire safety and child car seat safety can definitely help. Being as informed as possible on all aspects of child safety should be on ongoing process parents should strive to achieve.

Michelle Stein

Michelle Stein is a journalist who lives in the Midwest with 3 kids. After quitting her newspaper reporting job more than a year ago, she now works from home as a freelance writer.

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