Nearly 1,300 children under the age of 17 die from gunshot wounds every year and nearly 5,800 are injured, a new comprehensive survey finds.
And that’s probably an underestimate, because gun deaths are not always consistently reported, the team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Most of these deaths are not accidents, the CDC team found in their report, published in the journal Pediatrics. More than half — 53 percent — are homicides and another 38 percent are suicides.
The older the children, the higher the rates.
“Firearm-related deaths are the third leading cause of death overall among U.S. children aged 1 to 17 years, surpassing the number of deaths from pediatric congenital anomalies, heart disease, influenza and/or pneumonia, chronic lower respiratory disease, and cerebrovascular causes,” Katherine Fowler of CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention and colleagues wrote.
“They are the second leading cause of injury-related death in this age group, surpassed only by motor vehicle injury deaths.”
Children are rarely hurt or killed by guns in other developed countries, the researchers pointed out. More than 90 percent of all children aged up to 14 who are killed by guns in high-income countries are killed in the U.S., they noted.
The team looked through CDC data on deaths in the U.S. for their study. “This article provides the most comprehensive examination of current firearm-related deaths and injuries among children in the United States to date,” the team wrote.
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