Study Reveals "Staggering" Toll Of Guns On US Kids

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Researchers looked at hospital reports and death certificates, as well as overall patterns and trends.

The study found guns killed an average of 1,300 children per year from 2012 to 2014. While African-American children had the highest rate of homicide, white and Native American children had the highest rate of suicide.

One recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics: Ask if there are guns in a house before allowing your children to play at a friend's home.

Now a new report gives the most complete picture yet of the grim toll gunfire takes on American children every year.

The study, published in Pediatrics on Monday, also found 6% of firearm-related deaths were fatalities from accidental gun injuries. Other studies only analyzed "selected outcomes" or certain types of injuries.

Southern states and parts of the Midwest had the highest rate of firearm homicides among children.

"Suicides often occur in response to short-term crises", Nelson wrote.

According to The Associated Press and USA TODAY Network, unintentional shooting deaths may be significantly underreported.

"They are the second leading cause of injury-related death in this age group, surpassed only by motor vehicle injury deaths".

The latest annual death estimate breaks down to: 53 percent from homicide, 38 percent from suicide, six percent unintentional, and the remaining three percent were either from unknown intentions or legal intervention.


Based on the findings, the data suggest about 19 children a day die from or are medically treated in an emergency room for a gunshot wound. Of the injuries, 71 percent were assault, 21 percent were unintentional, 5 percent were related to law enforcement or undetermined causes and around 3 percent were self-inflicted.

Homicides fell from 2007-14, from 1,038 to 699, the rate dropping by 36 per cent to less than 1 per 100,000.

"The fact that these children are injured, they are cared for by surgeons, within the health care system, they have fractures, they have brain injuries, they have lacerations to their body and so forth, so that's the biology of this disease", said Hargarten, who was not involved in the study.

Older children, aged 13 to 17, more often died in the commission of a crime or in violence between peers, while younger children's deaths were usually accidental, the study authors said.

Suicide rate was highest for white and American Indian children (each 2.2 per 100,000): nearly four times the amount for African American (0.6 per 100,000) and Hispanic (0.5 per 100,000) children and over 5 times the rate for Asian American children (0.4 per 100,000).

Firearm death rates among children aged 0 to 17 years, 2010-2014.

The study used data from the National Vital Statistics System and National Electronic Injury Surveillance System as well as the National Violent Death Reporting System.

On the Centers for Disease Control Web page (http://bit.ly/2m9kI0T), note the states with the highest rates of gun-related deaths (per 100,000 people): Louisiana, Alaska, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Missouri.

Fowler and colleagues disclosed no conflicts of interest.

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