Rural Versus Urban Pediatric Firearm Injuries: A 10-year Review at a Level 1 Trauma Center

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Rural Versus Urban Pediatric Firearm Injuries: A 10-year Review at a Level 1 Trauma Center

Category: Injury, Youth|Journal: Clinical Medicine Research (full text)|Author: A Diebel, C Day, J Nesiama, O Oke|Year: 2021

While hospitalization rates in rural versus urban pediatric firearm injuries nationwide has been previously investigated, studies highlighting the differences across the spectrum of pediatric care are limited. The purpose of this study is to describe the epidemiology of pediatric firearm injuries in a North Texas level 1 trauma center in rural versus urban settings and supplement knowledge for injury prevention. Retrospective review of the trauma registry was done to identify children 0- 18 years of age admitted to the Emergency department, inpatient service, or clinics between 2009-2019 for firearm injuries. Data points were cross-referenced through chart reviews. A descriptive analysis was conducted on data collected and stratified by location of injury; rural vs urban. Demographic data, type of firearm used (air propelled or powder propelled), shooter relationship, and injury severity scores were also collected. A chi-square analysis was conducted to determine associations and logistic regression analysis to determine the odds ratio of associations. A total of 247 patients met study criteria. Males accounted for 73% of all victims, of which 58% were in urban areas. Stratified by race, 36% of patients were Hispanic, followed by 30% White (p<0.001). Patients were slightly younger in rural areas 8.2±3.74 compared to their urban counterparts 9.2±4.34 (p=0.129). Air propelled firearms were used most often in both rural (52.2%) and urban (54.2%) areas (p=0.808). Black children were 3.6 times (CI: 1.8-7.5) more likely to sustain injuries from powder propelled firearms as compared to their White counterparts (p<0.001). Most shooters in both rural and urban areas were family members (57.5% and 39.7% respectively: p=0.112). Most injuries were unintentional; 95.6% of rural and 74.5% of urban injuries (p<0.002). Most injuries were classified as minor according to the injury severity score: rural 42.2% and urban 71.1%. However, injuries occurring in rural areas had a higher percentage in the moderate (28.9%), serious (11.1%) and severe (17.8%) categories respectively (p<0.001). In conclusion, firearm injuries occurred mostly in urban areas. The mean age of the patients was younger than 10 years. Additionally, injuries were often unintentional, caused by family members. More seriously injured children were in rural areas. This highlights the importance of firearm education to families with children.

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