News / Health

New Study Details Gun Injuries Suffered by Children

File - Customers shop for handguns through a rack of assault rifles at the Guns-R-Us gun shop in Phoenix, Arizona.
File - Customers shop for handguns through a rack of assault rifles at the Guns-R-Us gun shop in Phoenix, Arizona.

Related Articles

Photogallery TSA Found Over 1,800 Guns in Carry-On Bags in 2013

TSA says 81 percent of guns were loaded
Every day in the United States, about 20 children are injured by firearms and require hospitalization, according to new research.

The research said that in 2009, there were 7,391 hospitalizations of victims under the age of 20 and that six percent of those admitted die as a result of their injuries.

“This study is a stark reminder of the devastating effects of gun violence,” said Adam Winkler, a law professor at UCLA and author of the book Gunfight. “Too often, we focus only on the number of people who die from gun violence. But so many who escape death also suffer lifelong injuries.”

The study says assaults accounted for the majority of hospitalizations, while the fewest were suicide attempts. Suicide attempts were the most likely to result in death.

The most common types of firearm injuries were open wounds (52 percent); fractures (50 percent); and internal injuries of the thorax, abdomen or pelvis (34 percent), according to the study.

Those injured by guns often require further treatment once they’re out of the hospital, the study said. This could include “rehabilitation, home health care, hospital readmission from delayed effects of the injury, and mental health or social services.”

"These data highlight the toll of gun-related injuries that extends beyond high-profile cases, and those children and adolescents who die before being hospitalized," said Dr. John Leventhal of the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, in a statement. Leventhal co-authored the study.

Gun rights advocates had some questions about the study.

“Their definition of 'children' is quite expansive, said John Pierce, founder of, a gun advocacy group promoting the right “to openly carry properly holstered handguns.”

Pierce noted he had not read the entire study, but said that study’s use of victims under 20 is misleading.

“I suspect that the reason the study includes adults up to age 20 is because they are able to sweep in the large number of gang-on-gang and drug-trade related assaults that occur in the 14 to 20 age bracket,” he said. “By sweeping these gang and drug related assaults into the number it makes the gravity of firearms 'injuries' to 'children' seem to be a far bigger problem than it really is.”

Pierce said gun rights groups continue to “spread the message of safety every gun owner should embrace.”

“Anti-gun activists will do anything to twist statistics in their attempts to demonize the mere possession of guns by law-abiding citizens,” he said.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “the safest home for a child is a home without guns, and if there is a gun in the home, it must be stored unloaded and locked, with the ammunition locked separately.” 

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.

You May Like

Video Obama: Action on Climate Change 'Economic, Security Imperative'

President spoke to reporters on sidelines of UN Climate Summit outside Paris, where leaders are working to agree on binding measures

IMF Bets on China’s Resolve to Reform

IMF announcement already raising questions about just how much Beijing is committed to such reforms

What Happened When I Landed in Antarctica

Refael Klein chronicles what it's like to visit one of the coldest, most desolate places on Earth

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
January 29, 2014 6:55 PM
I do hope American people will become free ASAP from the spell of constitutional amendment set two centuries ago as all Samurais abandoned their swards following the government rule also two centuries ago in Japan.

by: Brian C from: DC
January 29, 2014 3:20 PM
The penalty for pacifism in the face of aggression is extreme.

Yet this article and the alleged “study” do not factor in this concept. How many of these injuries to innocent men, women and children could have been prevented by a good person with a gun that may have been on the scene as the aggression unfolded? How many of these good people on the scene didn’t have a gun to stop aggression because politicians made the carrying of a gun in public illegal? How many innocent people were saved from injury by a good person with a gun since 2009? I’m asking about the number of good people who did not lockup their gun in a way that rendered their gun useless.

Unless the world no longer contains aggressive people who are willing to harm innocent people for personal gain - the penalty for pacifism in the face of aggression shall remain extreme.

Government control orientated politicians will continue to value the votes of emotionally driven “all we need is love” low info voters. Such amounts to a honey pot for them. But the rest of us do understand that we pay a heavy price in terms of loss of liberty, and an overall higher rate violence in society, when politicians are allowed to codify into law the idea that pacifism in the face of aggression is smart – an idea that flies in the face of the Second Amendment.

by: Aaron from: Montana
January 29, 2014 1:02 PM
200,000 children are injured annually in motor vehicle collisions. 3 million children are injured annually in sporting events, more that 1 million of those are serious injuries. Every 22 minutes a child in injured in a shopping cart accident. There are lots of these statistics, should we consider banning cars, sports, and shopping carts?

by: Rob from: USA
January 29, 2014 12:39 PM
Based upon the data set used in this study, the US is sending children into war.

by: Jason from: Toronto
January 28, 2014 12:23 PM
+1 to the previous 10 comments.

by: Mark from: Canada
January 28, 2014 12:08 PM
By a trigger lock or keep them in a gun safe. Never leave a gun loaded when not in use. Never leave a child in an unattended vehicle with the engine running or the keys in the ignition. Build a fence around your swimming pool with a locking gate. Don`t leave a packages of matches out or a lighter if you have children around. Never leave a child unattended in a bath tub. Do not leave prescription drugs laying about and use child proof caps.

by: Reva Madison from: Virginia
January 27, 2014 5:35 PM
Again, it doesnt matter if they are 15, 17 or 6. If a kid has availability of a gun, they are going to "play" with it - no matter how much "training" or safety education they have had. Just look at how many foolish adults do the same. Those that bother to look and research will see photos of dozens of people doing such idiotic things as shooting up into the air. Do they not realize what goes up, must come down? Safety MUST be taught, and repeated over and over, and that will save some, but not all. Kids and guns are often bad news. What else do we expect?

by: JC from: California
January 27, 2014 5:30 PM
Let's put this "data" in perspective: Safe Kids Worldwide survey of emergency room visits shows more than a million times a year, or about every 25 seconds, a young athlete visits a hospital emergency room for a sports-related injury. 1.35 million children last year a sports-related injury was severe enough to send them to a hospital emergency department.
So 3,456 kids go to the ER per day from sports. 20 for guns and this includes gang activity.....not bad.

by: Anderson from: ATX
January 27, 2014 5:30 PM
The numbers are shock-worthy to those that want them to be. Anti-gun will hear these numbers and gasp at the outrage. All the numbers putting it into perspective are excellent. Obesity for example:

An estimated 300,000 deaths per year may be attributable to obesity. 80% of obese children will become obese adults. I would say that's more of a problem than gun violence, much more important to deal with.

Poorly done study; done for the purpose of justifying the ban of guns...that's the whole agenda.

by: Speag from: Philly
January 27, 2014 3:55 PM
The study defines children as "<20". So it actually includes every gang-banger drug cartel shooting in every major city. The study is a fraud.
Comments page of 2

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs