In 2009, the year H1N1 was widely recognized in the U.S., influenza became the tenth most common reason for children to be admitted to a hospital. In 2000, the flu ranked 65th among reasons for pediatric admission to 10th, a federal statistics brief shows.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project also found that hospitalizations of children with skin infections ratcheted up from 13th to 7th from 2000 to 2009.
Pediatric hospitalizations are a huge concern, because they make up one in six discharges from U.S. hospitals, or 6.4 million stays, even though the majority of these are newborns. Children are defined as patients 17 years of age or younger.
There were 6.4 million hospital stays for children and 17 years and under in 2009, and about three-quarters of those were for children under the age of one year.
Teen pregnancy hospitalizations were the fourth leading diagnostic category for hospital stays for children, but they dropped significantly, from a high of 28.7 discharges per 10,000 in 2000 to 22.9 in 2009, or from 175,000 to 155,000 stays between 2006 and 2009.
Diseases of the digestive system, the second highest rate with 37.7 hospitalizations per 10,000 children in 2009, also dropped from 44.5 per 10,000 in 2006.
The discharge rate for children was 858 per 10,000 compared to 1,285 per 10,000 for the general population.
Costs are a big concern as well, as total costs for pediatric hospitalizations in 2009 were $33.6 billion, 9% of total costs for all patients.