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In 2002, there were 3.7 million hospital discharges among children ages 1 to 21, or 4.4 discharges per 100 children. This represents a slight increase from 2001. Hospital discharge rates generally decrease until about age 8 and increase during later adolescence.

Diseases of the respiratory system were the major cause of hospitalization for children 1-9 years of age and accounted for 33 percent of their discharges.

While injuries are the leading cause of death among children older than 1 year, this category accounted for only 8 percent of the hospital discharges of children aged 10-14 in 2002. Pregnancy and childbirth accounted for 64 percent of discharges among young women ages 15-21. Mental disorders were the second leading cause of hospitalization for adolescents.

Graph: Major Causes of Hospitalization[d]