Children and guns are two words that we want to imagine never go hand in hand, but they do have an unfortunate relationship here in the trigger happy USA. According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics recently, about 5,790 children in the United States go to the emergency room treatment for gun-related injuries each year.
Raw Story pointed out that about 21 percent of these are unintentional injuries, going on to note that “the study also found that an average of 1,297 children die annually from gun-related injuries, making guns the third-leading cause of death for children in America (behind illnesses and unintentional injuries like drownings or car crashes). The number is based on data taken from 2012–2014 for children up to the age of 17.”
The statistics were found using data on fatal gun deaths from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System database, while data on non-fatal gun injuries were from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.
91 percent of kids killed by guns around the world were American in 2010, an insanely high number. And it’s because of guns–and the way we use and store them.
When it comes to gender, boys were “responsible for 82 percent of gun-related deaths, and 84 percent of the injuries.” This part may surprise you: Suicides have increased by 60 percent, and are more common in rural areas.
In another Pediatrics study from 2016 by researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. In the study, 1,246 parents were surveyed in pediatrician office waiting rooms in Missouri and Illinois–36 percent said they kept guns in the house, and two-thirds had more than one.
Meanwhile, the NY Times reported that gunshots are second leading cause of injury-related deaths in children. Car accidents are the first. This means, each week, 25 children die from bullet wounds. Again, this is too many. The article went on to say:
“Between 2012 and 2014, an average of 1,297 children under age 18 died each year from firearm injuries. Aside from deaths in the course of law enforcement and other circumstances, there were an average of 693 homicides, 493 suicides and 82 unintentional deaths annually.
In addition, there were 5,790 nonfatal injuries a year from gunshots, most due to assault.”
Any death that could be prevented should be taken seriously–and we should learn from these tragic events and take precautions (like passing sensible gun safety laws) so they don’t happen again.