Gunshot wounds send about 20 children to the hospital every single day in the United States, a new study says.
A review of hospital records found that firearms caused 7,391 hospitalizations among children younger than 20 during 2009, the most recent year for which records are available, said Dr. John Leventhal, lead study author. Of those shooting victims, 453 died while in the hospital.
More than half of the gun injuries involved an attack on the child, but nearly one-third were unintentional, the investigators found. (Others were of undetermined causes or from suicide attempts.) Three of four hospitalizations of children younger than 10 resulted from accidental injuries.
The study found that boys are overwhelmingly more likely to suffer a gunshot wound, with nine of 10 cases involving male patients. Black boys had a gunshot hospitalization rate more than 10 times that of white boys.
The most common types of firearm injuries were open wounds (52 percent), fractures (50 percent), and internal injuries of the chest, abdomen or pelvis (34 percent), the report showed.
The new study was published online Jan. 27 and in the February print issue of Pediatrics.