Weapon injuries, including many by robbery, sent over 75,000 US children and adolescents over nine years in emergency rooms at a cost of nearly $ 3 billion, a first of its kind.
Researchers named it the first nationwide representative study on ER Visiting firearm injuries in US children. They found that more than a third of injured children were hospitalized and 6 percent died. The injuries declined during most of the 2006-14 study, but last year saw a recovery.
The researchers found that 11 out of every 100,000 children and adolescents treated in US emergency rooms have firearms injuries. That's about 8,300 children a year.
The scope of the problem, however, is wider; The study does not include children who were killed or injured by gunfire, who never made it to the hospital, nor the cost of shot patients after they returned home.
"I do not know what else we need to see in the world to get together and tackle this problem," Dr. Faiz Gani, the lead author and researcher at the Faculty of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University.
The study is an analysis of estimates of emergency medical visits in a national database created by the US Government Agency for Research and Quality in Health Care.
The researchers focused on victims under the age of 18; the average age was 15 years.
Almost half of the gunshot wounds were caused by raids, nearly 40 percent were unintentional and 2 percent were suicides. There were five times more ER visits to boys than to girls
Pediatric ER visits to gunshot wounds fell from a rate of 15 per 100,000 in 2006 to about 7 per 100,000 in 2013, then jumped to 10 per 100,000 a year 2014 latest data.
University funding for analysis, published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.
The results show that firearms violence with children extends to mass shootings that attract the most attention, Dr. Robert Sege, Co-Author (19659002) "It is extremely sad because these children grow up in fear and influence their ability to feel safe and comfortable at home and at school, it has a tremendous ripple effect on child development", said Sege, a professor of medicine at Tufts University, who was not involved in the research.
Gun lobby pressure has limited US government funding for arms damage and death research "This has led to large gaps in understanding the scale of the problem," Dr. Denise Dowd, an ambulance at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.
"It's really important that we have an idea of how big life is hurt and how much money we spend … so we can prioritize it as a national health problem."
But she said that more must be known for prevention.
"We need national surveillance systems, just as we do death of automobiles, to track these injuries and figure out the circumstances," she said.