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Epidemiology of paediatric firearm injuries in the USA, 2001–2010


Objectives Firearm injuries to children and adolescents remain an important cause of morbidity and mortality in the USA. The objectives of this study were to describe the prevalence of and epidemiologic risk factors associated with firearm injuries to children and adolescents evaluated in a nationally representative sample of US emergency departments and ambulatory care centres.

Study design We performed a retrospective cross-sectional analysis of data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from 2001 to 2010. Firearm injury-related visits in patients 0–19 years old were identified using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification firearm injury codes. The primary outcome was the prevalence of firearm-related injuries. We used multivariate logistic regression to analyse demographic risk factors associated with these injuries.

Results From 2001 to 2010, there were a total of 322 730 927 (95% CI 287 462 091 to 357 999 763) paediatric US outpatient visits; 198 969 visits (0.06%, 95% CI 120 727 to 277 211) were for firearm injuries. Fatal firearm injuries accounted for 2% of these visits; 36% were intentionally inflicted. There were increased odds of firearm injuries to men (OR 10.2, 95% CI 5.1 to 20.5), black children and adolescents (0–19 years) (OR 3.2, 95% CI 1.5 to 6.7) and adolescents 12–19 years old (all races) (OR 16.6, 95% CI 6.3 to 44.3) on multivariable analysis.

Conclusions Firearm injuries continue to be a substantial problem for US children and adolescents, with non-fatal rates 24% higher than previously reported. Increased odds for firearm-related visits were found in men, black children and those 12–19 years old.

  • Accident & Emergency
  • Epidemiology
  • Injury Prevention

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