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Definitions of the term "infant" vary; many medical definitions define it as under 1 year. However, for practical purposes, a baby is an infant for at least 2 years, because this is the period during which they cannot communicate what is wrong with them. This fact makes infant conditions difficult to diagnose for parents and physicians alike. An infant is called a "neonate" for the first 28 days of life.
Death rates: The overall infant (<1 year) death rate is 0.706% or 1-in-141. This rate is higher in the first 28 days and reduces to 0.188% or 1-in-531 after the neonatal period (i.e. after 28 days of life). For ages 1-4 years, the death rate drops down to 0.034% (1 in 2,941) on average.
Top Ten Causes of Death: Causes of death differ for the different categories. Neonates are at highest risk with prematurity leading the list. Non-neonate infants are at a lower risk with SIDS the highest risk.
Neonates: For neonatal infants aged less than 28 days, the top ten causes of death in USA 1999 were:
Infants and neonates: For infants aged less than 1 year, the top ten causes of death in USA 1999 were:
Non-neonate infants: After the first 28 days, the death rate drops to 0.188% or 1-in-531, and the top causes of death differ somewhat. For non-neonate infants, aged less than 1 year but older than 28 days, the top ten causes of death in USA 1999 were:
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