Gun-related deaths among American children have reached a new record high, new data shows.
Analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that guns were responsible for the deaths of 4,752 Americans ages 0-19. in 2021, which surpassed the previous record of 4,368 in 2020.
It is the third year in a row that firearm deaths among children have been recorded, now clearly ahead of motor vehicle traffic, choking, poisoning and drowning as the leading causes of death.
Dr. Chethan Sathya, a pediatric trauma surgeon at Northwell Health in New York and lead author of the study, said, “This is, without a doubt, one of our major public health crises in this country.”
‘The most likely reason your child will die in this country is at the hands of a firearm. That is not acceptable.
The leading causes of death in American children from 2018-2021. The crude death rate is the death rate per 100,000 inhabitants
The maps above show the child firearm death rate by state and year between 2018 and 2021
Just last week, a nine-year-old boy fatally shot a six-year-old boy in Jacksonville, Florida (file photo)
There are no signs that the steep trajectory of firearm deaths in children is slowing, added Dr. Sathya.
More than 80 percent of firearm deaths were in men 19 years of age or younger.
Nearly two-thirds of the deaths were homicides, and black male children were more likely to die by homicide, while white men ages 19 and younger were more likely to commit suicide with weapons.
Of the 2021 deaths, 64 percent were homicides, 30 percent were suicides, and four percent were unintentional.
Unintentional shootings have also increased. Last week, a nine-year-old boy fatally shot a six-year-old boy in Jacksonville, Florida.
A three-year-old boy in Florida also recently died after shooting himself with a handgun.
In California, a three-year-old boy fatally shot his one-year-old sister with a handgun, and a two-year-old boy died after finding an “unsecured firearm.”
Between 2018 and 2021, there was a nearly 42 percent increase in the rate of children killed by guns, according to the analysis.
The researchers expected to see a decline in firearm-related deaths among children in 2021 after they spiked in 2020, though this was due to rising rates of mental illness during pandemic-induced lockdowns.
Dr Sathya said that the fact that deaths from firearms continued to rise was “surprising to many of us”.
According to a separate analysis of the Kaiser family foundation1,427 children ages one to 17 died of cancer in the US in 2021, while 2,348 died from motor vehicle accidents.
The new study was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.