Emergency department visits for firearm injuries among children doubled during the pandemic, according to a study published in the academic journal Pediatrics on Monday. The study also found that the number of children who died in the hospital as a result of a firearm injury doubled during the same period. Emergency room visits for firearm injuries increased from about 18 per 30 days between January 2017 and February 2020 to 36.1 per 30 days between March 2020 and November 2022, according to The Hill. Deaths from firearm injuries among children and adolescents in the hospital also increased from 3.1% before the pandemic to 6.1% during the pandemic, the study shows. Based on firearm-related emergency room visits at nine U.S. hospitals, there were a total of 1,904 emergency department visits by children for firearm injuries during the study’s time frame, half of which were made by teens between 15 and 17.
According to the study, boys were more likely than girls to go to the hospital for a firearm injury. Males made up 80% of all firearm injury emergency room visits. Black children and teens made two out of three emergency room visits due to firearm injuries. Adolescents from low-income neighborhoods also made two out of three ER visits. The study states that the reasons behind the surge in firearm-related visits to the emergency room are multifaceted, however, researchers noted that gun sales increased dramatically during the pandemic. “Access to guns stored unsafely in the home may have contributed to increases in self-inflicted and unintentional firearm injuries,” they wrote. “Simultaneously, psychosocial stressors and financial strains related to the pandemic may have led to increases in assault and self-inflicted firearm injuries.”