A new study published in the journal Pediatrics found that 20 children are hospitalized every day due to firearm injuries.
Among young children in the U.S., gun-related injuries are among the top three causes of death. For adolescents 15-19 years old, guns cause every 1 of 4 deaths.
This current study focused on kids who “survive their immediate firearm-related injuries and go on to suffer substantial morbidity and hospitalizations,” according to the authors.
Researchers looked at a sample of over 4,000 medical centers in 2009 and found an estimated 7391 hospitalizations occurred in this age group because of firearm injuries. From that group, 6.1%, or 453 children, died in the hospital.
“These data highlight the toll of gun-related injuries that extends beyond high-profile cases, and those children and adolescents who die before being hospitalized,” said Dr. John Leventhal, a professor of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven and lead author of the study. “Pediatricians and other health care providers can play an important role in preventing these injuries through counseling about firearm safety, including safe storage.”
Leventhal and his team found that the most common types of firearm injuries included open wounds (52%); fractures (50%); and internal injuries of the thorax, abdomen or pelvis (34%). Traumatic brain injuries occurred most often in children younger than age 5.
Children who survive firearm injuries often require extensive follow-up treatment once released from the hospital, including rehabilitation, home health care, hospital readmission from delayed effects of the injury, and mental health or social services.
According the authors, “the major cause of injury in young children was an unintentional injury, whereas in adolescents, most hospitalizations resulted from assault.”
Just last week, a separate report out of the University of California, San Francisco reviewed previous studies of gun-related deaths and found significantly increased odds of suicide and homicide victimization associated with access to a firearm in the home