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Guns kill or injure 10,000 kids per year in the U.S.

Teresa Tanoos's picture
Injuries from firearms send over 7,000 children to the hospital annually.

A new study published Monday in Pediatrics says that the number of children who are injured or killed in school shootings each year is but a mere fraction of the total number of American kids injured by firearms each year.

Lead study author, Dr. John Leventhal, a professor of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine, said that over 7,000 children per year suffer injuries from firearms so severe that hospitalization is required. That’s an average of 20 kids being hospitalized per day, with 6 percent of them dying from their injuries.

And that doesn’t count the 3,000 children who die each year from gunshot wounds before they ever get to the hospital, for a total of 10,000 kids being harmed or killed by guns on an annual basis.

Dr. Leventhal added that all these deaths and hospitalizations are “unnecessary” because “preventing gun violence is something that can actually be done.”

The study is the first-of-its-kind to examine children only as it pertains to how many are hospitalized for gun injuries.

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For the study, researchers from Yale used the 2009 Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) to determine the number of children who were hospitalized for gun-related injuries. As a result, they found that 7,391 kids younger than 20 had been hospitalized for injuries due to firearms, and among them, 453 had died.

A break-down of the injuries suffered from firearms showed that 4,559 were due to assaults, with 2,149 due to accidents and 270 being suicide attempts.

The most common type of gun-related injuries in young children were to the brain, with 14 percent suffering spinal cord injuries, which Leventhal said are the most devastating of all.

Most of the injuries were due to accidental shootings, with roughly half resulting in open wounds and fractures.

Leventhal also said that the high rate of accidental gun-related injuries, particularly in younger kids, is why parents need to keep their firearms locked away in a safe location that is different from where they store ammunition.

SOURCE: Hospitalizations Due to Firearm Injuries in Children and Adolescents, John M. Leventhal, Julie R. Gaither, and Robert Sege, Pediatrics peds.2013-1809; published ahead of print January 27, 2014, doi:10.1542/peds.2013-1809



84% of those injured by firearms in that study were between the ages of 15 and 20. Most of those were black or latino males. Most of those were assaults either by or on members of that group. Something definitely needs to be done, but it doesn't have anything to do with restricting or denying legal gun ownership.