CHICAGO — Gun injuries doubled in American children during the pandemic, a new study reveals.
“The number of kids dying after arriving at the hospital with gun wounds also doubled,” according to research by the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
“With the pandemic, we saw a drastic increase in firearm purchases, which might have led to the tragic spikes in injuries and deaths from firearms among children and adolescents.” said Dr. Jennifer Hoffmann, lead author of the study published in the journal Pediatrics.
The team studied children younger than 18 years old at nine urban US hospitals before and during the pandemic from 2017-2022.
The study discovered that there were 1,904 emergency visits by children for firearm injuries during the study time frame.
The numbers were higher than expected for kids aged 10 and older, both female and male.
Half of these visits were by older adolescents aged around 15-17.
Two-thirds of firearm injury visits were by black youth and two out of three firearm injury visits were by youth from poor areas, though increases were also seen in youth from wealthier areas.
Emergency department visits for firearm injuries did not substantially increase among white youth.
During this time emergency departments also saw deaths from firearms after arrival double, up from three percent pre-pandemic to six percent during the pandemic.
“Increases in firearm injuries across socioeconomic groups indicate that no child in the US is immune to the growing risks of firearm violence,’ said Dr. Hoffmann.
“Evidence-based policy solutions are desperately needed to tackle this crisis,’ he noted.
“For example, child access prevention laws, which hold firearm owners liable if a child can or does access a firearm, are associated with decreased firearm deaths in young people,” he added.
“To prevent youth firearm injuries, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends enactment and enforcement of child access prevention laws, as well as universal background checks, buyer regulations, extreme risk protection orders, and bans on semiautomatic military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines,” read a section of research recommendations.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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