US Firearm Injuries Among and Inflicted by Children under 12 Rose during Pandemic

Posted on April 13, 2021

A dramatic rise in firearm injuries among and inflicted by. children under age 12 coincided with a rise in firearm acquisition during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study pre-published in Pediatrics today. The study, “Firearms Injuries Involving Young Children in the United States During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” to be published in the July 2021 Pediatrics, is pre-published online Tuesday, April 13, here. Researchers compared multi-year trends involving firearm injuries in children younger than 12 years old and firearm injuries inflicted by children younger than 12 years old, using data collected from the Gun Violence Archive, a publicly available, real time repository of U.S. firearm injuries and deaths. They reviewed data reported during the pre-COVID period (March through August in the years 2016 to 2019) and during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020 through August 2020). They found a dramatic increase in firearm incidents involving young children during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the corresponding pre-COVID periods. The firearm injuries correlated with increased firearm purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic period, based on the number of new background checks per 100,000 persons as a proxy for new firearm acquisitions. Increased rates of firearm ownership, school closures and a suspected decrease in parental supervision during the COVID-19 pandemic may contribute to a surge in firearm injuries involving young children. The authors conclude that new strategies are needed to prevent firearm injuries.

[To request a pdf of the pre-published study, contact AAP Public Affairs. To request an interview with an author, contact Ariana Perez,, 443-933-0100.]