Though childhood today is much safer than it was in previous centuries, many children die each year as a result of accidents, disease or crime. The most common killers during middle childhood, a period that extends roughly from the age of seven or eight to puberty, make a lethal list.
Accidents of varying description are the deadliest threats during middle childhood, with 1,387 deaths between the ages of seven and thirteen due to unintentional injury recorded in 2007. Of these, motor vehicles caused fully half. The remaining deaths were the result of a number of different accidents involving fire, drowning, other forms of transportation, suffocation, poisoning, firearms and other, rarer causes.
Cancer, medically described as malignant neoplasms, is the second most common cause of death in middle childhood. In 2007, 664 children between seven and thirteen died due to cancer-related illness. Cancer is far-and-away the most deadly childhood disease, with second place heart conditions claiming 160 lives in the target age group during the same year.
The third-leading killer during middle childhood is birth defects or congenital anomalies. In 2007, 242 children ages seven to thirteen died as a result of complications due to birth defects. Many birth defects are undetected while the child is an infant, or cannot be operated on, but don't finally claim the child's life till years later.
The fourth most common cause of death during middle childhood is murder. During 2007, assailants killed 189 children from seven to thirteen years of age. Of these, fully half the homicides were committed with a firearm, while the others involved bladed weapons, fire, suffocation, poison and other assorted modus operandi, with one drowning and one death by beating.
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