Study finds 16 U.S. children hospitalized for firearms injuries each day
PAS Meeting Updates
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – New research being highlighted at the 2017 Pediatric Academic
Societies Meeting in San Francisco reveals that firearms injuries caused more than
5,800 U.S. youth to be hospitalized in 2012, or roughly 16 children each day.
The study abstract, “Pediatric Hospitalizations due to Firearm Injuries in the U.S.
in 2012,” will be presented on Sunday, May 8, at the Moscone West Convention Center.
For the study, researchers examined the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID), which tracks
hospital inpatient stays for children.
Beyond providing grim statistics on the sheer number of children injured by guns,
the study also showed demographic and socioeconomic patterns tied to the injuries:
While the majority of injuries in children under age 15 were unintentional, most among
15- to 19-year-olds were the result of assault.
Nearly 90 percent of the gunshot patients were male, and, disproportionately, over
half of the patients admitted with firearm injuries were Black.
More than half of the children hospitalized for gunshot injuries (53%) lived in a
ZIP code that fell within the bottom 25% of median household income. Roughly the same
amount had Medicaid.
The average length of hospitalization was 6 days, costing an average of $22,644 per
stay. The total estimated national cost of the hospitalizations was $130 million.
"Our findings add urgency to the need for preventive public health measures to reduce
gun injuries in children," said lead author Alyssa H. Silver, M.D., FAAP, attending
physician and assistant professor of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hospital Medicine,
Children's Hospital at Montefiore/Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "The fact that
57% of firearm-related injuries in children under 15 years old were unintentional,
for example, highlights the need for improved gun safety and storage practices."
Dr. Silver also called for increased research funding for additional studies on pediatric
firearms injuries, alongside other major threats to children’s health. During the
2016-17 fiscal year, she noted, just $2.2 million in federal funding was provided
through the National Institutes of Health for firearms related research, compared
with $444 million for research on the Zika virus and $286 million for cystic fibrosis
studies, for example.
The Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Meeting brings together thousands of individuals
united by a common mission: to improve child health and well-being worldwide. This
international gathering includes pediatric researchers, leaders in academic pediatrics,
experts in child health, and practitioners. The PAS Meeting is produced through a
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child advocacy: Academic Pediatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American
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