Gunshot wounds sent roughly 20 children to the hospital per day in 2009 in the United States, says an alarming new study published Monday in Pediatrics.
The number amounts to almost one child or teen seriously injured by a firearm per hour.
Of the 7,391 hospitalizations analyzed in 2009, six percent resulted in a death, according to the researchers at the Yale School of Medicine which studied the most recent statistics from ER rooms across the U.S.
More than half of the gun injuries involved an attack on the child, but nearly one-third were unintentional, the investigators found. (Others were of undetermined causes or from suicide attempts.) Three of four hospitalizations of children younger than 10 resulted from accidental injuries.
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"That every day, 20 of our children are hospitalized for firearms injury, often suffering severe and costly injuries, clearly shows that this is a national public health problem," says Robert Sege, director of the Division of Family and Child Advocacy at Boston Medical Center and a co-author of the study.
"The safest home for children and teens is one without guns," said Sege.
USA Today reports:
Researchers analyzed a nationally representative sample of discharge data collected on children and adolescents (up to age 20) in 2009. The data, released in 2011, are the most recent available, Sege says. [...]
The study detailed a significant racial gap: Black children and adolescents comprised 47% of all hospitalizations, 54% of hospitalizations resulting from assaults, 36% from unintentional injuries and 54% from undetermined causes.