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Firearm Injuries Up in Children Under 12 During COVID-19 Pandemic

Compared with prepandemic period, increases seen in risk for firearm injuries in young children and injuries inflicted by young children

child and handgun

WEDNESDAY, April 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in firearm injuries in children younger than 12 years and in firearm injuries inflicted by children younger than 12 years, according to a study published online April 13 in Pediatrics.

Joanna S. Cohen, M.D., from the Children's National Health System in Washington, D.C., and colleagues compared trends in firearm injuries in children younger than 12 years and firearm injuries inflicted by children younger than 12 years old during the pre-COVID-19 period (March through August, 2016 to 2019) and during the COVID-19 pandemic (March through August 2020).

The researchers found that compared with the pre-COVID-19 era, during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an increased risk for firearm injuries in young children (relative risk, 1.90) and in injuries inflicted by young children (relative risk, 1.43). There was a correlation noted for these increased incidents with an increase in new firearm ownership.

"During the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, we demonstrate a surge in fatal and nonfatal gun injuries in young children and in those inflicted by young children who discharged a firearm," the authors write. "There is an urgent need for enactment of both interventions in the local health care setting and state and federal level legislation aimed at preventing firearm injuries and deaths involving children during the COVID-19 pandemic."

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