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Cars And Trucks Are More Dangerous To Your Kid Than COVID-19

(Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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More than 500,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 so far, but a minute number of those deaths have occurred in young people.

The number of Americans aged 5-14 who have died due to COVID-19 is 0.2 per 100,000, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) compiled by Bloomberg. The rate is the same for children aged 1-4, and it only ticks up to 1.4 per 100,000 for Americans aged 15-24.

The numbers are far higher for elderly Americans, with nearly 2,400 deaths per 100,000 people from COVID-19 in those aged 85 and up. The rate is well into the triple digits for anyone above age 55. But younger people die far less often than the elderly across the board, so how does the COVID-19 death rate among children compare to other dangers? (RELATED: The CDC Says COVID-19 Cases Are Rising, But That Isn’t The Whole Story)

COVID-19 was initially compared by some to influenza, although the former has now killed nine times more Americans than the average flu season does, according to the CDC. However, according to the same statistics, the flu kills 3.5 times more toddlers annually than COVID-19 and 1.5 times more people aged 5-14.

The difference in death rate between COVID-19 and vehicular accidents is far more drastic. Toddlers are more than 12 times as likely to die in a land transport accident than from COVID-19, according to the CDC. For ages 5-14, the difference is still more than tenfold. Land transport accidents kill more Americans than COVID-19 in all age brackets 35 and under.

Deaths in swimming pool accidents are also more common in toddlers, by a factor of more than seven. The rate is roughly equal to COVID-19 for ages 5-14.

Among the most concerning statistics is suicide rate. More than seven times as many kids aged 5-14 commit suicide than are killed by COVID-19, and the gap jumps to more than eight times in ages 15-24. Those suicide statistics are from 2017-2019, and are almost certainly higher for 2020 due to the well-documented increase in mental illness and suicidal ideation among young people during the pandemic. (RELATED: Study: ER Visits For Suicide Attempts, Overdoses, Violence And Neglect Rose During COVID-19 Lockdowns)

Heart disease, normally the leading cause of death overall in the United States, also kills about four times more children aged 1-4 and twice as many aged 5-14 than COVID-19.

In all, only 140 children aged 14 or younger have died of COVID-19 in the United States, according to data from the Heritage Foundation. Around 70% of deaths have been Americans aged 65 or older.

The risk of COVID-19 spreading among children is at the center of the debate on whether or not to reopen schools. Numerous studies have shown schools are not more prone to spreading the virus than other environments, but some educators have called for all students to be vaccinated before returning to in-person instruction.