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SAFETY/INJURY PREVENT :: Firearms

Firearms - Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates

The following statistics were are the latest available from the National SAFE KIDS Campaign:

Injury and death rates:

  • The number of unintentional deaths from firearms declined 80 percent from 1997 to 2002.
  • In 2002, 60 children ages 14 and under died from unintentional firearm-related injuries; more than half of those children were between the ages of 10 and 14.
  • Non-powder gun-related injuries (for example, BB guns or pellet guns) sent nearly 8,300 children to hospital emergency rooms for treatment in 2003.

Where and when:

  • Most unintentional firearm-related deaths among children occur in or around the home; 50 percent at the home of the victim, and 40 percent at the home of a friend or relative.
  • The presence of a firearm in the home increases the risk of unintentional firearm-related death among children (especially if the firearm is loaded and kept unlocked).
  • Most unintentional firearm-related child deaths involve guns that were loaded and accessible, and occur when children play with the gun.
  • More than one-half of firearm owners keep their firearms loaded and ready for use some of the time.
  • Most unintentional shootings among children occur in the late afternoon, on the weekend, during summer months, and during the holiday season, when children are most likely to be unsupervised.
  • Rural areas have higher incidences of unintentional firearm-related injuries, as well as higher rates of firearm ownership.

Who:

  • Approximately 3.3 million children in the US live in households with firearms that are, at times, kept loaded and unlocked.
  • Boys are more likely to suffer unintentional firearm-injuries or die from an unintentional shooting than girls. Nearly 80 percent of children ages 14 and under who die from unintentional shootings are boys.
  • As many as 75 percent to 80 percent of first and second graders know where their parents' gun is kept.
  • Some 3-year-olds are strong enough to pull the trigger of many handguns.

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Online Resources of Safety & Injury Prevention

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It is important to remember the health information found on this website is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.
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