Firearms surpass motor vehicles as leading cause of death among kids, UM researchers say

Firearms surpass motor vehicles as leading cause of death among kids, UM researchers say

Firearms-related injuries have become the leading cause of death among youth for the first time, according to an analysis of federal data by University of Michigan researchers. The analysis, based on Centers for Disease Control mortality data from 2020 and published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that firearm-related deaths among children and adolescents age 1 to 19 increased 29% from 2019 to 2020. That jump caused firearm deaths among youth to eclipse motor vehicle deaths, which had been the leading cause of death among youth and adults since the 1950s, said Dr. Patrick Carter, co-director of UM’s Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention . He co-authored the analysis with UM researchers Jason Goldstick and Rebecca Cunningham. More than 4,300 U.S. kids ages 1-19 died as the result of firearms in 2020, which included suicides, homicides and unintentional deaths. Vehicles crashes caused about 3,900 deaths in individuals ages 1-19 that year. Drug poisoning deaths rose more than 83% — surpassing 1,700 total deaths — and was the third-leading cause of death that year. Carter said the rise in gun deaths shows the disparity in research between firearm and vehicle use. “We have applied rigorous, evidence-based research to injury prevention in the field of motor vehicle crash injury,” said Carter, an associate professor in the UM’s emergency medicine and health behavior and health education departments. “We have built safer cars. We have built safer roads. We have changed driver behavior around things like drinking and driving, we’ve […]

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