In 2005, American kids aged 5-14 had a death rate of 16.3 per 100,000.  Here’s one way to think about how incredibly low that is:

Suppose a kid could keep that childhood mortality rate forever.  What would be his expected lifespan? 

Answer: 6,135 years!  His median would be a little lower – a mere 4,252 years.

Somehow this makes me more optimistic about the prospects for life extension.  To extend our lifespans to thousands of years, scientists don’t have to succeed where billions of years of evolution failed.  They just need to figure out how to lock in the safety that the typical human already enjoys for one of his decades.