• Quote: Gunshot Injuries to US Children

    Craig D. Newgard and colleagues in Pediatrics:

    Gunshot-related injuries are a leading cause of death and non-fatal injury among children and adolescents in the United States. Gunshot injuries rank second only to motor vehicle crashes as a cause of death for children ages 15 to 19 years. From 2001 through 2010, 29 331 children age 0 to 19 years died of gunshot-related injuries. Another 155 000 children were injured seriously enough to undergo treatment in emergency departments (EDs). After peaking in 1994, the gunshot-related mortality rate for children ages 0 to 19 years fell 54.6% by 2003, but has remained almost unchanged since.

    Aaron has written on the causes of mortality for children here, here, and here.


    • How does one explain the fact, that though there are both more children and more guns than ever before, including many more concealed carry weapons; roughly half as many kids die today than in 1994?

      • One reason may be that guns are concentrated in fewer homes. Another may be lead. Even if childhood mortality is still less than before the amount attributable to guns is still much much higher than other industrialized countries.

      • Fewer households have guns. “When the GSS first asked about gun ownership in 1973, 49% reported having a gun or revolver in their home or garage. In 2012, 34% said they had a gun in their home or garage. When the survey first asked about personal gun ownership in 1980, 29% said a gun in their home personally belonged to them. This stands at 22% in the 2012 GSS survey.”
        Section 3: Gun Ownership Trends and Demographics

        If this is accurate, it means fewer people own guns but those who do own guns own a lot more guns than they used to.

    • Freakonomics by Steve Levit: Chapter 5

      “Consider the parents of an eight-year-old girl named, say, Molly. Her two best friends, Amy and Imani, each live nearby. Molly’s parents know that Amy’s parents keep a gun in their house, so they have forbidden Molly to play there. Instead, Molly spends a lot of time at Imani’s house, which has a swimming pool in the backyard. Molly’s parents feel good about having made such a smart choice to protect their daughter.

      But according to the data, their choice isn’t smart at all. In a given year, there is one drowning of a child for every 11,000 residential pools in the United States. (In a country with 6 million pools, this means that roughly 550 children under the age of ten drown each year.) Meanwhile, there is 1 child killed by a gun for every 1 million-plus guns. (In a country with an estimated 200 million guns, this means that roughly 175 children under ten die each year from guns.) The likelihood of death by pool (1 in 11,000) versus death by gun (1 in 1 million-plus) isn’t even close: Molly is roughly 100 times more likely to die in a swimming accident at Imani’s house than in gunplay at Amy’s.”

      • I wonder in the USA has more pools and swimming places per capita than many of the places with higher life expectancy?

        Also as a side note: Water is dangerous there have been more deaths per KW hour of electricity produced from dams than from any other source.

      • Emily, I agree with your point that parents (and the rest of us) often have difficulty accurately assessing risk, but I am not sure how your comment relates to the original post.

      • Not sure what the point of this anecdote is. Surely, adult supervision is needed for both swimming and firearms use.

        • @Bill Gardner: “Not sure what the point of this anecdote is.”

          From the blog:

          “Quote: Gunshot Injuries to US Children”
          “Gunshot-related injuries are a leading cause of death”

          One can easily note how frequently we focus negatively on guns. The anecdote above which was really a small study puts things into perspective.

          Aside from the fact that guns can also save lives and according to Levitt for children under the age of 10:

          550 drown
          175 gun deaths

          It seems that at least for the under 10 children which is much of what the quote was all about that drowning is a far greater danger. (over three times greater!!!)

          It would be interesting to look at how many postings there are related to gun deaths vs drowning.

    • J,
      It is an excellent question. Homicide rates for all ages have dropped substantially over that period.

    • Between age 1 year and 25 years, the combination of death from homicide and suicide is the number one cause of death: at 25%. As our nation continues to struggle economically with a looming debt crisis, the future basis for socio-economic improvement is progressively being squandered, community by community.