Protecting children from firearm violence

Firearm-related injuries in children and adolescents are an important cause of preventable injury and mortality. Recent national shooting tragedies involving children have resulted in new efforts to study the problem and find solutions to reduce this type of injury. In an abstract presented Monday, Oct. 28, at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, researchers sought to determine the local trends and characteristics of pediatric firearm injuries and deaths, especially those involving children under age 14.

The abstract, "A Six Year Retrospective Review of Pediatric Firearm Injuries," reviewed child and adolescent firearm data from an urban Level 1 trauma center between January 2005 and December 2010, including injury site, the method of transportation to the hospital, and patient disposition. For patients ages 14 and younger, researchers reviewed , hospital, and rescue records for shooting details including gun type and shooter characteristics and treatment information such as procedures, discharge diagnoses, medical and social history.

There were 456 patients age 18 and younger with firearm injuries, including 78 patients younger than age 14. Most patients were male (86 percent) and African-American (80 percent). The death rate was 7 percent.

The most common injury sites for children under age 14 were the extremities (51 percent), trunk (41 percent), head (16 percent) and neck (9 percent). Patients ages 5 to 9 were six times more likely to have multiple injury sites compared to children ages 10 to 14.

"Further analysis of our firearm injury data found that less than 14 years of age differ from those 15 to 18 in several key areas," said study author Phyllis Hendry, MD, FAAP. "They are four times more likely to be shot at home and are much more likely to arrive by ambulance than by private car or walk in. Older teens often walk in or are dropped off at emergency department entrances. Over 60 percent of the time, the shooter and the type of firearm were unknown."

Emergency records often lack important details necessary to help develop effective crime and injury- prevention strategies, according to the abstract.

"Future firearm prevention initiatives must explore improved methods of linking Emergency Medical Services, hospital and law enforcement records," said study co-author Andrea Suen, MD, FAAP.

More information: To view the abstract, "A Six Year Retrospective Review of Pediatric Firearm Injuries," go to aap.confex.com/aap/2013/webpro… ress/Paper21742.html

Related Stories

Want to be safe? Move to the City. No, really.

date Jul 23, 2013

Large cities in the U.S. are significantly safer than their rural counterparts, with the risk of injury death more than 20 percent higher in the country. A study to be published online tomorrow in Annals of Emergency Medicine upends ...

Recommended for you

Are our schools damaging children's eyes?

date Mar 24, 2015

Shockingly, research has shown a dramatic increase in the number of students leaving secondary school with short-sightedness, or myopia, and a new study published in the Journal Perspectives in Public Health, published by SAG ...

Vitamin D vital for gene expression in developing brains

date Mar 24, 2015

Vitamin D deficiency in mothers leading up to and during pregnancy has fundamental consequences for their offspring's brain development, researchers from University of Western Australia and the Telethon Kids ...

Chef-enhanced school meals increase healthy food consumption

date Mar 23, 2015

Schools collaborating with a professionally trained chef to improve the taste of healthy meals significantly increased students' fruit and vegetable consumption, according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

freethinking
Oct 28, 2013
Since African American make up a minority in the US, yet the account for 80% of firearms injuries. How to prevent gun injuries in African American?
1. Promote policies that encourage traditional marriage. With a father around, a child has less chance to fall into dangerous situations.
2. Eliminate the thug culture. If you act like a thug, you have a higher likelihood of being shot like a thug.
3. Encourage personal responsibility, quite blaming others for your failures.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.