Differences in Severity, Health Care Utilization for Firearm Injuries, Other Penetrating Trauma in Kids

JAMA Network Open


Media advisory: To contact corresponding author Ashley E. Wolf, M.D., email press@seattlechildrens.org. The full study is linked to this news release.

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Bottom Line: Pediatric firearm injuries were associated with greater severity and health care utilization than other penetrating trauma suffered by children caused by cutting or piercing, such as with a knife. This observational study used national trauma data in the United States from 2007 through 2016 to analyze 25,155 hospital encounters for firearm injury and 21,270 encounters for a cut or pierce injury in children 17 years old or younger. Firearm injuries were more likely to require admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) and have a higher degree of severity, as well as longer hospital and ICU stays, compared to cut or pierce injuries. Bullets have more force than many other weapons used to inflict a cut or pierce injury. Limitations of the study include that the data aren’t fully comprehensive. Study authors suggest pediatric firearm injuries can be reduced through legislative efforts, safe gun storage practices and community-based interventions.

Authors: Ashley E. Wolf, M.D., formerly of Seattle Children’s Hospital, University of Washington, Seattle, but now at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, and coauthors


Editor’s Note: The article includes conflict of interest disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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