Guns Passed Car Accidents as Leading Cause of Child Deaths in US in 2020 - Study

© AFP 2022 / JOE RAEDLEDELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 24: Weapons for sale hang on the wall at WEX Gunworks on March 24, 2021 in Delray Beach, Florida. U.S. President Joe Biden has called on lawmakers to “immediately pass” legislation to help curb gun violence in the county.
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 24: Weapons for sale hang on the wall at WEX Gunworks on March 24, 2021 in Delray Beach, Florida. U.S. President Joe Biden has called on lawmakers to “immediately pass” legislation to help curb gun violence in the county.   - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.05.2022
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Deaths caused by gun violence have increased sharply in recent years, eclipsing those caused by car accidents in 2020 among American children, according to researchers at the University of Michigan.
Their findings, published recently in an open letter in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed that firearm-related deaths spiked sharply in 2020, amplifying an already-increasing trend of gun mortality.
According to data released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 45,222 people were killed by people wielding guns in the United States in 2020 - a 13.5% increase over the previous year. That trend was driven by a 33.4% increase in firearm homicides, as well as a 1.1% increase in suicide by firearm; the former, they note, disproportionately affect younger people.
Patrick Carter, one of the authors of the research letter and co-director of the University of Michigan's Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention, told National Public Radio that 4,357 of those deaths, or about 10%, were children.
“The previous analysis, which examined data through 2016, showed that firearm-related injuries were second only to motor vehicle crashes (both traffic-related and nontraffic-related) as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents, defined as persons 1 to 19 years of age,” the NEJM letter states. “Since 2016, that gap has narrowed, and in 2020, firearm-related injuries became the leading cause of death in that age group.”
In addition, they also note that deaths caused by drug overdose and poisoning increased by 83.6% in 2020 in the same age group, becoming the third leading cause of death.
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According to their data, 5.2 deaths per 100,000 in the age group were from car crashes in 2020, while 5.6 deaths per 100,000 in the age group were from firearms. Drug overdose was at about 2.3 deaths per 100,000 in the age group.
© NEJMLeading Causes of Death among Children and Adolescents in the United States, 1999 through 2020. Children and adolescents are defined as persons 1 to 19 years of age.
Leading Causes of Death among Children and Adolescents in the United States, 1999 through 2020. Children and adolescents are defined as persons 1 to 19 years of age. - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.05.2022
Leading Causes of Death among Children and Adolescents in the United States, 1999 through 2020. Children and adolescents are defined as persons 1 to 19 years of age.
It should also be noted that their data shows a sharp decline in the number of car-related deaths since 2002, when more than 10 deaths in 100,000 were caused by car crashes. The CDC noted the trend in 2014, saying it was largely due to the dramatic increase in the use of age- and size-appropriate child restraints, such as car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.

Carter told NPR it was possible to “do the same thing with firearms,” but the government hasn’t dedicated itself to seeking out the problem and solution. By comparison, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was founded in 1970 as a US federal agency to "save lives, prevent injuries, reduce vehicle-related crashes,” according to the agency.

The news comes amid an increase in mass shootings in the United States, including the Tuesday killing of 19 children and two adults in a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school by a gunman who was himself 18 years old. It was the worst school shooting since the 2012 attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, but came just 10 days after another mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, that targeted a grocery store frequented by Black shoppers.
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