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Shootings second leading cause of deaths in US kids: study

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Guns are the second-leading cause of injury-related deaths among children in the US, according to a report which claims that on an average 19 kids get shot every day in the country.

The report showed that almost 1,300 children in the US die from gunshot wounds yearly, and an additional 5,790 children are treated for gunshot wounds and survive each year.


About 19 US children per day are killed by or receive emergency treatment for gunshot wounds, according to the study.

Among injury-related deaths, firearms are the second leading cause behind car accidents for children aged 1-17.

"These are preventable injuries that have a major public health impact on early death and disability among children," said Katherine A Fowler from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US.

Among the 1,300 children who die each year from firearm- related injuries, 53 per cent are homicides, 38 per cent are suicides and 6 per cent are unintentional. Children who are in their teens, male or black are most likely to be victims.

From 2007 to 2014, rates of firearm homicides declined after having been on the rise for several years, according to the study.

They are most common in southern states and some Midwestern states and for black children more than any other race.

For older children, these homicides often involve other crimes and gang activity while younger victims often are bystanders in a conflict.

"This highlights how children can be caught in the crossfire in cases of domestic violence and points to the importance of addressing the intersection of these forms of violence," Fowler said.

Child suicides involving firearms rose 60 per cent from 2007 to 2014 after having been on the decline and are 11 times higher among teens than 10- to 12-year-olds, researchers found.

When an adolescent commits suicide with a firearm they typically do so impulsively while dealing with life stresses or mental health issues, according to the study.

"The high case fatality rate associated with firearm suicide attempts makes availability of highly lethal means in a time of crisis a crucial factor in determining whether a suicide attempt will be fatal," researchers said in the study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Unintentional firearm deaths typically involve one child shooting another while playing with a gun and are 12 times higher for teens than younger children. These deaths declined from 2002 to 2014.

Roughly 5,790 children each year are treated in an emergency department for a firearm-related injury. Of these, roughly 84 per cent are male and 88 per cent are teens.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, June 19 2017. 17:13 IST
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