Dr. Arin L. Madenci presented a new study at the Oct. 27, 2013, session of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida that demonstrates a direct correlation between the percentage of homes with guns and the prevalence of child gunshot injuries.
Gun injuries cause 7,500 hospital admission and 500 deaths in children each year based on the most recently available statistics.
The researchers based their conclusion on data from the Kids' Inpatient Database (KID) from 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009 (a total of 36 million pediatric hospital admissions), and estimated state household gun ownership using the most recent Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data from 2004.
The number of children that were injured or killed by guns increased from 1997 to 2009 by 181 percent and 159 percent respectively. The number of children that were injured or killed by guns has dropped from 2009 level by three percent and less than one percent respectively.
Homes that have guns have higher rates of gun injuries to children regardless of whether the guns are secured with a lock or in a gun safe or not. Loaded firearms and unlocked loaded firearms made no difference in the potential for childhood injury.
"Handguns account for the majority of childhood gunshot wounds and this number appears to be increasing over the last decade," and “States with higher percentages of household firearm ownership also tended to have higher proportions of childhood gunshot wounds, especially those occurring in the home." according to Dr. Madenci.