While we strive to prevent mortality in children and teens in everything we do as pediatricians, deaths to this age group can and do occur. What causes these deaths and do differences exist by gender at different age ranges, or due to specific types of diseases? Balsara et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.203-0339) studied these types of questions by looking at linked birth and death records from 1999 to 2007 stratified by males and females. They then further stratified the data by age from birth to age 20 as well as in terms of the 7 leading types of pediatric cancers. They found gender differences in the causes of early mortality , and the reasons for these differences make for some thought-provoking reading.
This information may provide you with a better understanding of the genetic and hormonal factors that may contribute to increasing the earlier risk of death in your very young patients.