After the gunshot: Hospitalizations for firearm injuries prevalent among children

January 27, 2014, Yale University

About 20 children per day in the United States are injured by firearms seriously enough to require hospitalization, and more than 6% of these children die from their injuries, according to a study by Yale School of Medicine researchers and their colleagues published in the Jan. 27 online issue of Pediatrics.

John Leventhal, M.D., and his team studied children and adolescents younger than age 20 at the time of admission to the in 2009. In that year, in the United States, 7,391 hospitalizations occurred in this age group because of firearm injuries, and 453 of those young patients died while in the hospital. Most of these hospitalizations resulted from assaults (4,559), but in children younger than age 10, 75% of the almost 400 hospitalizations were due to unintentional or accidental injuries.

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 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.

"These data highlight the toll of gun-related injuries that extends beyond high-profile cases, and those and adolescents who die before being hospitalized. Pediatricians and other health care providers can play an important role in preventing these injuries through counseling about firearm safety, including safe storage," said Leventhal, who points to the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations that the safest home for a child is a home without guns, and, if there is a gun in the home, that it must be stored unloaded and locked, with the ammunition locked separately.

Explore further: Prevalence of household gun ownership linked to child gun shot wounds

Related Stories

Prevalence of household gun ownership linked to child gun shot wounds

October 27, 2013
There are approximately 7,500 child hospitalizations and 500 in-hospital deaths each year due to injuries sustained from guns. In an abstract presented Oct. 27 at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference ...

Protecting children from firearm violence

October 28, 2013
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 ...

Serious child abuse injuries creep up, study shows

October 1, 2012
A new Yale School of Medicine study shows that cases of serious physical abuse in children, such as head injuries, burns, and fractures, increased slightly by about 5% in the last 12 years. This is in sharp contrast to data ...

AAP renews commitment to preventing gun injuries in children

October 18, 2012
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is renewing its call to reduce the destructive effects of guns in the lives of children and adolescents, including counseling parents about safe gun storage as well as supporting legislation ...

Incidence of non-fatal pediatric firearm injuries in the US higher than previously estimated

October 17, 2011
From 1999 to 2007, there were 185,950 emergency department (ED) visits in the U.S. for firearm injuries in children aged 0 to 19 years. A new abstract presented Monday, Oct. 17, at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) ...

Children hospitalized at alarming rate due to abuse

February 6, 2012
In one year alone, over 4,500 children in the United States were hospitalized due to child abuse, and 300 of them died of their injuries, Yale School of Medicine researchers report in a new study. The findings are published ...

Recommended for you

Baby brains help infants figure it out before they try it out

January 17, 2018
Babies often amaze their parents when they seemingly learn new skills overnight—how to walk, for example. But their brains were probably prepping for those tasks long before their first steps occurred, according to researchers.

NeuroNext biomarker study explores natural history of infantile-onset SMA

January 9, 2018
Research led by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to define the natural history of infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) has been "critical" to accelerate the development of effective therapies and hasten ...

No link between childhood lead levels, later criminality

December 27, 2017
(HealthDay)— Exposure to higher levels of lead during early childhood can affect neurological development—but does that mean affected kids are doomed to delinquency?

Early puberty in girls may take mental health toll

December 26, 2017
(HealthDay)—A girl who gets her first menstrual period early in life—possibly as young as 7—has a greater risk for developing depression and antisocial behaviors that last at least into her 20s, a new study suggests.

Technology not taking over children's lives despite screen-time increase

December 21, 2017
With children spending increasing amounts of time on screen-based devices, there is a common perception that technology is taking over their lives, to the detriment and exclusion of other activities. However, new Oxford University ...

Higher blood sugar in early pregnancy raises baby's heart-defect risk

December 15, 2017
Higher blood sugar early in pregnancy raises the baby's risk of a congenital heart defect, even among mothers who do not have diabetes, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

0 comments

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.