Health Status > Children
In 2004, there were 3.6 million hospital discharges
among children aged 1 through 21, or 4.2 discharges per 100 children
that year. This represents little change from 2003. Hospital discharge
rates generally decrease with age until about age 9 and then increase
during later adolescence.
While injuries are the leading cause of death
among children older than 1 year, this category accounted for only
9 percent of hospital discharges of children 1 to 14 years old in
2004. Diseases of the respiratory system were the major cause of
hospitalization for children 1 to 9 years of age, accounting for
31 percent of discharges. Pregnancy and childbirth accounted for
67 percent of discharges of young women aged 15 to 21. Mental disorders
were the second leading cause of hospitalization for 15- to 21-year-olds.
Overall, there has been a significant decrease
in hospital discharge rates among children over the past 20 years.
From 1985 to 2004, there was a 33 percent decrease in discharge
rates for children aged 1 to 14 years. During this period, hospital
discharge rates for diseases of the respiratory systems declined
44 percent for children in this age group.