Hospitalizations for Children with Flu and Skin Infections Increased in the Last Decade

Influenza increased dramatically as a major cause of hospitalizations for children age 17 and under, climbing from 65th in the ranking of reasons why children go to the hospital to 10th in 2009. Skin infections increased from the 13th most common condition in 2000 to 7th in 2009.

Other findings reported by the federal agency on hospital stays for children age 17 or younger:

- Pneumonia, asthma, and acute bronchitis were the most common conditions that required hospital care in 2009, followed by mood disorders (depression and bipolar disorder).

- Children represented 1 out of every 6 hospital stays, and total hospital charges for children were $33.6 billion, or 9 percent of total hospital costs in 2009. About 72 percent of children in hospitals were newborns and infants under 1 year.

- Compared with all hospitalizations in 2009, a childs average hospital stay was shorter (3.8 days versus 4.6 days) and less expensive ($5,200 versus $9,200).

This AHRQ News and Numbers summary is based on data from Statistical Brief #118: Hospital Stays for Children, 2009 ( The report uses data from the Agency's Kids Inpatient Database and Nationwide Inpatient Sample. For information about these AHRQ databases, go to