It’s well-known that the United States leads the world in mass shootings, but mass shootings are relatively rare compared with the number of Americans shot in incidents that don’t make headlines.
Research has shown that someone is shot in America every 4 minutes and 44 seconds, or about 111,000 people every year. A recent study took a closer look at the most recent data available, from the 2012 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kids’ Inpatient Database, which tracks hospital stays for children.
“The numbers are horrifying,” said Silver said, who is giving a presentation about the numbers at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in San Francisco this week. She found that roughly 16 children a day, or an estimated 5,862 a year, were hospitalized due to firearm injuries in 2012. However, she believes that the total number of children who are shot is much higher.
The data don’t include children who die in the emergency room or before they get to the hospital, nor does it include those who are treated and released.
These injuries cost $130 million in hospital bills in 2012, an average of $22,644 per stay. Most of the children were hospitalized for six days due to the severity of their injuries, and most needed extensive followup treatment once they were released. In addition to physical therapy, many need mental health care.
Majority of the children under 15 hospitalized with gunshot wounds were unintentionally injured and said these accidents could easily have been prevented if the guns had been locked up.
An estimated one out of three US homes with children has a gun, and about 1.7 million US children live in homes with unlocked and loaded guns. In older children, the background changes. Most of those between 15 and 19 were shot in an intentional assault, according to Silver’s research. This age group makes up the largest number of victims, more than 83%.