American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition
American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition
Source/Disclosures
Source:

Liou HYS, et al. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pediatric firearm-related injuries in the USA. Presented at: AAP National Conference & Exhibition; Oct. 2-5, 2020; virtual.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
October 05, 2020
2 min read
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Rate of gun violence impacting children increases during COVID-19 pandemic

Source/Disclosures
Source:

Liou HYS, et al. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pediatric firearm-related injuries in the USA. Presented at: AAP National Conference & Exhibition; Oct. 2-5, 2020; virtual.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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The rate of gun violence impacting children in the United States increased during the COVID-19 pandemic and school closings, researchers found.

Han Yu Stephanie Liou, MD, a resident physician at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, and colleagues calculated differences in firearm-related injuries and fatalities among children aged younger than 18 years using data from the Gun Violence Archive for incidents that occurred between Jan. 1, 2019, and April 26, 2020. They presented the findings during the AAP National Conference & Exhibition.

According to Liou, community-based gun violence rose by 56%, whereas school-based gun violence decreased from 50 incidents in April 2019 to just one in April 2020. Incidents inside the home also increased by 38% during this time period, “with a larger share of these incidents resulting in the injury or death of a child,” Liou said.

Han Yu Stephanie Liou

“We hypothesize that there is a link between this finding and the stay-at-home orders resulting in more time spent inside the home,” Liou told Healio. “As well, there may be decreased reporting of incidents not resulting in injury or death due to media preoccupation with the pandemic and/or decreased interaction of families with schools, churches and other community groups who might witness or report less serious gun-involved incidents.”

However, pediatric firearm-related injuries appear to have decreased by over 9 percentage points on weekends in 2020 compared with 2019, the researchers reported.

Liou said the researchers hypothesize “that decreased incidence on weekends might be related to more adults and children spending time at home during stay-at-home orders, so there may be increased supervision of youth on weekends compared to pre-COVID-19 times.”

According to Liou and colleagues , the data showed a shift in the timing of firearm-related incidents more toward the weekdays than the weekends.

“The share of incidents occurring on weekdays but outside of school hours — before 8 a.m. or after 3 p.m. — rose by about 10% in April 2020 when compared with April 2019,” Liou said. They found no significant differences in the prevalence of youth-involved gun violence in April 2019 and April 2020 when comparing the 30 states that have child access prevention laws with the 20 states that do not.

Liou said gun violence may be worsening because of increased firearm purchases and psychological stress for adults and children during the pandemic.

“Our findings suggest that physicians may be able to prevent or reduce gun violence by making timely referrals to violence prevention/interruption programs that aim to curb community violence, counseling families on safe gun storage and provision of safe storage devices and providing resources for families to keep youth engaged while many traditional after-school activities are still suspended,” she said.