No matter what your opinion is on regarding whether there should be guns in the home, none of us want to see a child or teenager injured or killed due to an intentional or unintentional firearm injury. Yet fatal and nonfatal injuries from guns occur every day in our children. How prevalent are these occurrences? Fowler et al. ( 10.1542/peds.2016-3486) share this information with us in a 12-year look (2002-2014) at fatal and nonfatal firearm injuries compiled from databases looking at vital statistics and injury surveillance in emergency rooms and hospitals nationally. The trends show some decrease through 2014 in unintentional firearm deaths and in homicide deaths among children, but over the latter seven years surveyed, suicide rates have increased. There are many factors that need to be further explored in the rollup data including geographic locations where injuries are highest, ages, gender, circumstances contributing to the use of the firearms intentionally and unintentionally. Even more concerning is that some of the trends that looked better in 2014 became worse in the subsequent two years not included in this study, according to an important accompanying commentary by injury prevention specialist Dr. Eliot Nelson ( 10.1542/peds.2017-1300) whose commentary further interprets the findings in this study, updates the results, and provides insight into how we can address this critical problem. Read this study and commentary and think what more you can be doing to keep children safe through your own efforts to reduce firearm injuries in your patients and in your community.
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