Approximately 33,000 children were killed by firearms in the decade between 2012 and 2021, with an annual rate that increased 50% between 2019 (1,732) and 2021 (2,590), according to a new study in Pediatrics. For every one of these lives lost, four survive their firearm injuries.
Up to two-thirds of children who survive firearm injuries do not access mental health services afterward. Nearly half suffer chronic, complex medical conditions. And up to 70% of victims are discharged directly from the emergency department, resulting in a brief window to address the consequences of traumatic injury.
“One thing this data illustrates is the urgent need for a comprehensive care approach for children who survive a firearm injury both at the time of presentation and for their follow-up,” says Christian D. Pulcini, MD, MEd, MPH, professor of emergency medicine and attending physician at the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital, and the study’s lead author. “When children are discharged after a firearm injury, they and their family deserve a robust plan to support them holistically, especially their mental health.”
This research comes from Children’s Hospital Association’s multi-disciplinary research collaborative, Firearm Injury Prevention Research Group. “The collaborative takes a holistic approach to childhood non-fatal firearm injury research,” says Matt Hall, PhD, principal biostatistician at Children’s Hospital Association. “This allows us to comprehensively identify and work to improve the needs of children, families, and communities after firearm injuries.”
children experienced a firearm injury between 2012-2021.
of those who survive firearm injuries are discharged directly from the ED.
of children who survive firearm injuries suffer chronic, complex medical conditions.