Firearms kill more children than car crashes, new report finds

Gunshot wounds and vehicle deaths among young people aged 0-19 from 2001-2019. Data obtained from CDC and NCHS. All Intention = all gun deaths (murder, homicide, and indiscriminate); Murder, murder and armed robbery; MVC, traffic accident hazard; Suicide, gun violence; The death of the weapon was not accidental. Credit: Annie Andrews, MUSC

Gun violence in the United States has increased so far that it is killing more children than any other cause, including car accidents, and pediatricians are not fully prepared.

While health care workers are being taught to recognize and care for many people public health crisisincluding opioid crisis, COVID-19 crisis, and obesity crisis, gun violence is not always seen through this lens.

In a recent study by the CDC, clinical researchers from the University of South Carolina Medical Center found that gunshot wounds are now the leading cause of death among children under 19, and the gap racism among young black and white is increasing. The article, recently published in the journal Pediatrician, calls on doctors and other health professionals to recognize this as a pandemic and public health challenge and to help find solutions.

Annie Andrews, MD, pediatrician and assistant professor of pediatrics at MUSC, led the charge to compare the most recent estimates on gun-related injuries and deaths to set the stage for trying to find evidence-based solutions .

“When I became a pediatrician, I never thought I would take care of so many children who were shot,” Andrews said. “It’s not something you think about when you consider what a pediatrician is doing, but as a doctor in a hospital for the last 12 years I’ve seen things happen on a regular basis. And I’m starting to get really upset. about this. “

When Andrews and her team looked at the data, they found that gun-related deaths in minors outnumbered the fatalities caused by traffic accidents that began in 2019. And while the number of deaths increased. The number of fatal crashes has dropped since 2001, and the number of fatalities has dropped. continued its rise, with more and more people being killed suicide rate driving total 14% increase in the last twenty years.

But the group also noted a significant gap in ethnic risk: overall the number of gun-related deaths was four times higher than that of black children, and the homicide rate was 14 times higher for children. black.

“One of the most striking things we can highlight is the imbalance associated with child gun violence,” Andrews said. “We are reporting here that it is the leading cause of child mortality in 2019, but for many years it has already been the cause of death. black children in this country. “

The study shows that the gap has been widening since 2013, which is an important finding for operators to plan prevention measures and policies.

Stored rifles are safer guns

Developing a complex, structural crisis will require a variety of processes, according to Andrews. And two major types of programs show the greatest immediate promise in terms of health: reliable gun safety recommendations and clinical violence intervention plans. Andrews and her team also suggest that medical training should include expert guidance on gun violence for all students, not just those who specialize in emergency medicine.

“We are teaching injury doctors how to care for victims of gun violence, “Andrews said. about gun ownership and security. stockpiling of weapons. “

When researchers look at data on gun violence, they look at three types — accidental injury, homicide and suicide — and while different solutions are required for each type, secure storage weapons can help reduce the number of three elements.

Andrews said encouraging parents to use safe storage – keeping guns locked and unloaded and separating them from bullets – can protect young children from accidental gunshot wounds that can occur when they get a gun and pull a weapon. on a loaded weapon.

Safe storage can have a significant impact on suicide by preventing activities that young people can take on after school hardship or severe separation. Andrews points out that if resources are not available while passion is strong, these children will have a better chance of surviving.

And security measures can reduce the number of shootings in schools by limiting the use of firearms easily. Seventy-six percent of shooters in school are under 18 years old use a weapon from home or that of someone they knowso making it difficult to obtain these weapons can be effective.

Clinical support and local cooperation

In addition to reliable weapons storage, clinical violence intervention plans provide a way to health experts to address the community gun crisis, and there are many products that show evidence of success. Cities and states across the country are implementing evidence-based programs that work with health resources, law enforcement and community support and even roadblocks to prevent violence, especially to eliminate issues for prevent repetition or violence. .

In Charleston, MUSC has teamed up with a number of civil society groups to create a hospital-based program called Turning the Tide. Ashley Hink, MD, is a surgeon at MUSC and works as a medical director for Turn Tide. She described the plan by emphasizing collaboration.

“With our program we can work with pediatricians and our emergency partners to identify young people at risk of violence,” she said. “And we can provide intervention and support through a collection of local resources.”

She pointed to the cessation of violence as an important part of strategic planning. After receiving a call from the police or a hospital that a violent incident has taken place on their street or in their neighborhood, professional community members can respond on the spot. They are entering the area to encourage victims not to react or to aggravate the situation. Such programs have been shown to be effective but require sufficient funding, which has been a challenge in some areas.

Andrews encourages all health care professionals to accept that gun violence is a public health crisis. “We need to really ask ourselves what we can do to prevent these injuries from happening every day,” she said. “And once an injury occurs, we need to figure out what we can do to prevent patients from hurting them again in the future.”

MUSC has tackled the prevalence of gun violence at home by talking to parents about safe firearms storage and providing security keys during child inspection, and this effort has been widely accepted. The practice at the clinic also originated to increase training in pediatrics gunshot wounds for residents and hard work in the Turn Tide program.

Returning violence against children is a major challenge, but Andrews and Hink hope that local, state, and national changes over time will reverse the situation.

Non-lethal gunshot wounds result in an increased risk of mental illness in young men

Learn more:
Annie L. Andrews et al, Pediatrics and Cholera Injury, Pediatrician (2022). DOI: 10.1542 / peds.2021-052739

hintThe latest report (2022, April 21) was retrieved on April 21, 2022 from

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Firearms kill more children than car crashes, new report finds Source link Firearms kill more children than car crashes, new report finds

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