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Childhood death rates have generally declined over the past several decades. In 2002, a total of 12,008 children ages 1-14 died. Unintentional injury continues to be the primary cause of death for this age group. Among children ages 1-4, unintentional injuries accounted for 33.8 percent of all deaths, followed by deaths due to congenital malformations (birth defects), malignant neoplasms (cancer), homicide, and diseases of the heart. Unintentional injuries comprised 38.0 percent of all deaths among children 5 to 14, followed by malignant neoplasms, congenital malformations, homicides, suicides, and diseases of the heart.

Graph: Leading Causes of Death Among Children[d]