Pediatric Firearm Injury Emergency Department Visits From 2017 to 2022: A Multicenter Study

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Pediatric Firearm Injury Emergency Department Visits From 2017 to 2022: A Multicenter Study

Category: Injury, Youth|Journal: Pediatrics|Author: B Ketabchi, B Shihabuddin, C Carter, C Olsen, E Alpern, E Brooke Lerner, J Grupp-Phelan, J Hoffmann, L Cook, M Goyal, M Haasz, N Glomb, N Kravitz-Wirtz, P Chaudhari, S Chaudhary, S Duffy, W Wendt|Year: 2023

Background and Objective

Pediatric firearm injuries increased during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, but recent trends in firearm injury emergency department (ED) visits are not well described. We aimed to assess how pediatric firearm injury ED visits during the pandemic differed from expected prepandemic trends.



We retrospectively studied firearm injury ED visits by children <18 years old at 9 US hospitals participating in the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network Registry before (January 2017 to February 2020) and during (March 2020 to November 2022) the pandemic. Multivariable Poisson regression models estimated expected visit rates from prepandemic data. We calculated rate ratios (RRs) of observed to expected visits per 30 days, overall, and by sociodemographic characteristics.



We identified 1904 firearm injury ED visits (52.3% 15–17 years old, 80.0% male, 63.5% non-Hispanic Black), with 694 prepandemic visits and 1210 visits during the pandemic. Death in the ED/hospital increased from 3.1% prepandemic to 6.1% during the pandemic (P = .007). Firearm injury visits per 30 days increased from 18.0 prepandemic to 36.1 during the pandemic (RR 2.09, 95% CI 1.63–2.91). Increases beyond expected rates were seen for 10- to 14-year-olds (RR 2.61, 95% CI 1.69–5.71), females (RR 2.46, 95% CI 1.55–6.00), males (RR 2.00, 95% CI 1.53–2.86), Hispanic children (RR 2.30, 95% CI 1.30–9.91), and Black non-Hispanic children (RR 1.88, 95% CI 1.34–3.10).



Firearm injury ED visits for children increased beyond expected prepandemic trends, with greater increases among certain population subgroups. These findings may inform firearm injury prevention efforts.

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