500 children dead from gunshots every year, 7,500 hurt, analysis finds

© KenTannenbaum First Coast News is reporting on a new study which analyzed guns and the injuries children sustain from the guns.  The statistics are alarming.  About 500 American children and teenagers die in hospitals every year after sustaining gunshot wounds – a rate that climbed by nearly 60 percent in a decade.  In addition, an estimated 7,500 kids are hospitalized annually after being wounded by gunfire, a figure that spiked by more than 80 percent from 1997 to 2009. Eight of every 10 firearm wounds were inflicted by handguns.  These disturbing findings were presented by two physicians from Boston  to the American Academy of Pediatrics recently.
Maybe we need to focus on safety in the with smaller weapons such as a handgun.  One of the authors of the study pointed out that states with higher percentages of household firearm ownership also tended to have higher proportions of childhood gunshot wounds, especially those occurring in the home.
How did they come up with the numbers?  They tallied the statistics by going through a national database of 36 million pediatric hospitalizations from 1997 to 2009.  During that period, hospitalizations from gunshot wounds of kids and teens aged 20 and younger jumped from 4,270 to 7,730. Firearm deaths of children logged by hospitals rose from 317 in 1997 to 503 in 2009, records showed. Wow.  So sad.
How do you keep your children free from harm if you own a handgun?  Here are a few safety tips offered from Kids Health at Nemours:
if Your child comes into contact with a gun, tell them to:
¢ stop what they’re doing
¢ do not touch the gun
¢ leave the area where the gun is
¢ tell an adult right away
If You Have a Gun in Your Home
¢ Take the ammunition out of the gun.
¢ Lock the gun and keep it out of reach of kids. Hiding the gun is not enough.
¢ Lock the ammunition and store it apart from the gun.
¢ Store the keys for the gun and the ammunition in a different area from where you store household keys. Keep the keys out of reach of children.
¢ Lock up gun-cleaning supplies, which are often poisonous.
¢ When handling or cleaning a gun, adults should never leave the gun unattended.

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