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Firearms remain leading cause of death among U.S. children

Originally published: teleSUR English on August 23, 2023 (more by teleSUR English)  |

The American Academy of Pediatrics published a study in the journal Pediatrics showing that firearms continued to be the leading cause of death among U.S. children.

The study found that 4,752 children died from gun-related injuries in 2021, an 8.8-percent increase from the year before.

In 2021, among U.S. children who died by firearms, 84.8 percent were male, 49.9 percent were Black, 82.6 percent were aged 15 to 19 years, and 64.3 percent died by homicide.

“Despite the documented dominance of male deaths by firearm, the firearm mortality death rate is increasing in both males and females, demonstrating a concerning upward trend of firearm deaths overall,” the study warned.

Racial disparities in firearm mortalities have also worsened significantly, with Black children accounting for half of firearm deaths in 2021 and exhibiting the greatest increase in death rate from 2020 to 2021. This is consistent with previous data demonstrating Black Americans have represented the majority of those hospitalized with firearm injury.

Geographically, there were worsening clusters of firearm death rates in Southern states and increasing rates in Midwestern states from 2018 to 2021. Across the United States, higher poverty levels are also correlated with higher firearm death rates.

“U.S. pediatric firearm deaths increased in 2021, above the spike in 2020, with worsening disparities. Implementation of prevention strategies and policies among communities at highest risk is critical,” researchers concluded, recalling that firearm injuries became in 2020 the leading cause of death among U.S. children and adolescents.

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