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Keeping an Eye on BB/pellet Guns and Children United States Injury Patterns and Trends Between 2005 and 2015.
Erik Pearson, MD, Adarsh Patel, BS, Ishaan Dave, BA, Heather Short, MD, Jonathan Meisel, MD, Matthew Santore, MD, Mehul Raval, MD, MS. Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA, USA.

Background: While often misconstrued as toys, non-powder firearms including BB guns, pellet guns, and air rifles have the potential to cause serious harm. Our objective was to examine contemporary trends in fatal and non-fatal injury rates related to non-powder firearms for persons aged 18 years and younger in the United States.

Methods: National estimates on BB/pellet gun related injuries and deaths were examined using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) database between January 2005 and December 2014. Demographics, injury patterns, and mechanisms of injury were analyzed.

Results: BB/pellet gun injury rates have declined in the United States from 17.5/100,000 in 2005 toward a nadir of 11.1/100,000 in 2011. The age at injury increases steadily from age 2, peaking at age 13 with approximately one third of all injuries occurring in children ages 12-14 years. Extremities are the most common body area injured (39%); followed by the eye (26%), face (26%), and trunk (8%). Though infrequent, internal organ injuries were noted in 1.2% of cases, most commonly occurring in the head (76%) followed by the trunk (20%) and pelvis (4%). Half of all injuries are self-inflicted, followed by injuries from friends and siblings (20%). The majority of children are evaluated and discharged from the emergency department without treatment (90%).

Conclusions: The incidence of BB/pellet gun injuries has declined over the past decade. Injury rates appear to have plateaued in recent years indicating the need for further efforts in securing safety legislation, education and prevention.


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