Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe Canadian contextual trends in pediatric firearm injuries and death from powder and non-powder firearms.
Methods: This is a registry study of firearm-related injuries captured by the Canadian Hospitals Injury and Reporting Prevention Program (CHIRPP) for children ages 0 to 18 years presenting to participating CHIRPP emergency departments (EDs) from 2006 to 2013. Data included age, sex, year, setting, circumstance, and disposition for each case.
Results: The CHIRPP dataset included 325 non-powder firearm injuries and 80 powder gun injuries. The rate of firearm injuries remained stable from 2006 to 2013 (44 per 100,000 ED visits). Forty-five patients required hospital admission and 2 died in the ED; 8 of 9 intentional self-harm injuries were inflicted with a powder gun. Most injuries occurred unintentionally from non-powder firearms (n=298, 71%) in the context of recreation (n=179) and sport (n=48). Eyes were the most commonly injured body part (n=150), 98% of which resulted from a non-powder firearm. Forty-three percent (n=141) of non-powder firearm injuries required treatment or admission.
Conclusions: Eye injuries inflicted by non-powder firearms are a prevalent category of firearm-related injury. Most occurred through recreation and sport, highlighting a potential focus for primary prevention.