-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Gunshot wounds put about
7,500 children in the hospital and cause 500 in-hospital child
deaths each year in the United States, according to a new
And these pediatric shooting injuries and fatalities are
increasing, the researchers said.
The analysis of national data also found a significant
association between the percentage of gunshot wounds that occur in
homes and the percentage of homes with guns, according to the
study, which was presented Sunday at the national conference of the
American Academy of Pediatrics in Orlando, Fla.
"Handguns account for the majority of childhood gunshot wounds, and this number appears to be increasing over the last decade," study lead author Dr. Arin Madenci said in an academy news release. "Furthermore, states with higher percentages of household firearm ownership also tended to have higher proportions of childhood gunshot wounds, especially those occurring in the home."
Child hospitalizations for gunshot wounds increased from about
4,300 in 1997 to more than 7,700 in 2009, the study found.
In-hospital child deaths from gunshot wounds rose from 317 to 503
during that time.
Many current gun-control efforts focus on limiting the
availability of military-style semi-automatic assault rifles.
"[However], policies designed to reduce the number of household
firearms, especially handguns, may more effectively reduce the
number of gunshot injuries in children," Madenci said.
Another study presented at the meeting examined the types of
injuries among more than 450 gunshot victims younger than age 18
who were treated at an urban trauma center between 2005 and 2010.
Of those patients, 78 were younger than 14 years old, 86 percent
were male and 80 percent were black. The death rate was 7
Patients aged 5 to 9 years old were six times more likely than
those aged 10 to 14 to have multiple injury sites.
Study author Dr. Phyllis Hendry said further analysis of firearm
injury data found that children younger than 14 differ from older
teens in several key areas.
"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," Hendry said in the news release, noting that older teens often walk in or get dropped off at emergency-room entrances. "Over 60 percent of the time, the shooter and the type of firearm were unknown."
The researchers said emergency records often lack important
details that are needed to help develop effective crime and
injury-prevention strategies. They recommend improving the links
between emergency medical services, hospital and law-enforcement
The Injury Free Coalition for Kids has more about
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