Pediatric Trauma Society

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Accidental Firearm Injuries in Children: Identifying Opportunities for Injury Prevention
Brittany Johnson, MD1; Eric Rosenfeld, MD2; Christi Reeves, MSN, RN3; Annalyn S. Demello, RN 3; David E. Wesson, MD 3; Bindi Naik-Mathuria, MD, MPH 4
1Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, TX; 2Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX; 3Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, TX; 4Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, TX

Background: Texas is an open-carry state where loaded firearms are prevalent. Our purpose was to review the incidence of accidental firearm injuries in children to identify opportunities for injury prevention.

Methods: Retrospective chart review of children treated at a Level 1 trauma center of a free-standing children’s hospital for firearm injuries between 2012-2018. Accidental injuries were defined as those that occurred from a visible firearm, as opposed to stray bullets.

Results: Of 82 gunshot injuries, 26 (32%) were accidental, 15 (18%) from stray bullets, 2 (3%) from suicide attempts, and the rest (47.5%) were from assault,. The median age for accidental injuries was 11 (range 3-17); 42% in young children

Conclusion: A significant proportion of firearm injuries in children are accidental and therefore preventable. Injury prevention efforts should be focused on safe gun storage at home and in the car, inquiring about guns at homes children visit, and educating teenagers on safe methods of handling firearms.

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