Children in the United States face many risks and dangers as they grow up, and compiling the statistics can shed some light on the heartbreaking truth: the leading causes of death for these young kids. Understanding how and why these incidents occur can help parents and family members know what the risks look like and how to proceed after such a tragic incident.

A recent study looked at the causes of death in 2016, and it found that the top three for children were car accidents, gun deaths and cancer.

The percentages

Saying that something is a leading cause of death does not mean it makes up the majority of deaths, but simply that it makes up the largest percentage. Despite being the No. 1 reason for deadly incidents, car crashes still made up just 20 percent of the fatal cases involving children. Gun-related incidents came in second at 15 percent, and they were followed up by cancer (malignant neoplasms) with 9 percent.

The trends

There is one positive trend, as car accident deaths became less likely. Researchers compared the 2016 statistics to those from 2007 and found that deadly motor vehicle accidents dropped by 38 percent. They called this the “most notable change” in the study.

A concerning trend involved guns, in the No. 2 spot. Reports showed that there was a “28 percent relative increase in the rate of firearm deaths.” They noted that homicide rates involving guns had gone up by a staggering 32 percent and that gun-related suicide rates rose by 26 percent.

Comparing the U.S. to the world

These statistics alone tell you how likely children are to die from specific causes, but they do not necessarily tell the whole story. To get that, you need to consider how the United States stacks up against the rest of the world.

For instance, kids in the U.S. are “36 times as likely” to lose their lives in a gun-related incident than children in other countries with a similar level of income and development. At the same time, the fatality rate for car accidents is three times what you’ll find in these other comparable countries.

In short, children in the United States face some very real risks and dangers that other kids in the developed world simply do not have to worry about. These situations play out in a multitude of ways, but the outcome is always tragic for the family involved.

Seeking compensation

In some cases, negligence or recklessness lead to these deaths — in car accidents due to distracted driving, for instance, or accidental shootings that happen when someone handles a gun while under the influence. Parents need to know if they have a right to seek financial compensation to help cover their costs during such a difficult time.