Saturday, 16 December, 2017

Shootings kill or injure at least 19 US children each day

Study Shootings kill or injure 19 US children each day Study Shootings kill or injure 19 US children each day
Melissa Porter | 20 June, 2017, 01:44

The study, published in Pediatrics on Monday, also found 6% of firearm-related deaths were fatalities from accidental gun injuries.

Rates of gun homicide were higher in some southern states and parts of the Midwest than elsewhere.

The findings revealed which states in the USA saw most of those deaths among children, and which children were deemed to be most at risk for gun-related injury.

For older children, these homicides often involve other crimes and gang activity while younger victims often are bystanders in a conflict. 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. Boys accounted for 82 percent of child firearm deaths, and for teen boys it was almost six times higher than the rate for girls at 8.6 vs 1.4 per 100,000.

The annual death rate is nearly 2 out of 100,000 children - the rate is double for blacks - while nonfatal gunshot wounds injure almost 8 out of 100,000 kids each year.

Although accidental firearm deaths among children declined from 2002 to 2014 and gun-related homicides decreased from 2007 to 2014, suicides surged 60 percent from 2007 to 2014, the analysis of national injury records found.

Limitations to the data include that unintentional firearm deaths may be "significantly underreported", as well as potential misclassification bias among certain racial and ethnic groups in death certificate data and that the data is not nationally representative, but based on states with National Violent Death Reporting System funding from 2003 to 2013. Yet, suicide attempts with firearms are far more successful and irreversible than other methods.

Sacchetti said the best way to prevent these suicides and unintentional injuries and deaths is to keep guns locked away.

Tragic incidents involving children like the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut where 20 first- and second-graders were killed in December 2014 also brought the issue of firearms controls to the forefront.

Parents also shouldn't underestimate how witnessing gun violence influences kids, said Joan Reid, a researcher at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg who wasn't involved in the study.

"The majority of these children are boys, 13 to 17 years old, and African-American in the case of firearm homicide, and non-Hispanic white and American Indian/Alaska Native in the case of firearm suicide", said lead author Katherine Fowler of the CDC.

The older the children, the higher the rates.

For more on children and guns, visit the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

"Preventing such injuries and ensuring that all children have safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments remains one of our most important priorities".

Fatal firearm injury rates by intent and year, children aged 0 to 17 years, United States, 2002-2014.

The findings explain why researchers view gun violence as a public health crisis, and how they can understand the problem and develop solutions.

Dr. Stephen Hargarten, professor and chairman of emergency medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, likened gun violence in America to a disease.

The study found children who died between 2012 and 2014, 82 percent were males. "And the social constructs of companies that make these products that are available to children, that can be used very easily by children, and so it really is a complex disease".