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Fascinating Facts About the Near-Death Experiences of Children

Nearly 85 percent of children who undergo cardiac arrest have a near-death experience. What exactly do children see in heaven and how does it affect their lives?

Did you know that nearly 85 percent of children who undergo cardiac arrest have a near-death experience (NDE)? A rate that’s more than twice as high as for adults—and numbering in the thousands every year, according to the International Association for Near Death Studies (IANDS). So what exactly do children see in heaven and how does it affect their lives? Here are some fascinating facts about children NDEs.

A dark tunnel with a bright light at the end.

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Just like adult NDE survivors, children who get a peek at heaven might see bright lights, tunnels and a single holy figure. Child NDEs tend to be shorter than adult NDEs, but can be just as intense, researcher and NDE expert P.M.H. Atwater found. 

A young Asian girl with her pet turtle.

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Kids are more likely to see deceased loved ones and pets – even relatives they’ve never met – in heaven, reports IANDS.

A sleeping newborn on his father's chest.

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Babies can have NDEs…yes, babies! The Horizon Research Foundation documents the case of one boy who almost died at six months due to kidney failure. As he got older, his parents noticed how panicky he became in car rides through tunnels. Once he turned four and his grandfather was near death, the boy told his parents of his own NDE.

A happy couple getting married.

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Child NDE survivors are more likely to have happier marriages compared to adult survivors, according to research from P.M.H. Atwater.

A young boy holding a teddy bear in a  forest.

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Kids who survive NDEs often try to communicate with spirits or guardian angels or what their parents might call “imaginary friends,” IANDS found.

A young girl having fun in the park with her parents.

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Children often cite parents as the reason for coming back from the other side, according to P.M.H Atwater.

A close-up of a young girl sleeping.

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NDEs leave children forever changed. In fact, according to IANDS, children NDE survivors show signs of altered sleep patterns, attentiveness and an increased interest in philosophical subjects like universal love. They’re also able to understand abstract concepts better than their peers.

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