Guns Now Kill More Children and Young Adults Than Car Crashes

Guns Now Kill More Children and Young Adults Than Car Crashes

Credit: Amanda Montañez; Sources: Web-Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; “Crossing Lines—A Change in the Leading Cause of Death among U.S. Children,” by Lois K. Lee et al., in New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 386, No. 16; April 21, 2022 For much of the past few decades motor vehicle crashes were the most common cause of death from injury—the leading cause of death in general—among children, teenagers and young adults in the U.S. But now a new analysis shows that, in recent years, guns have overtaken automotive accidents as the leading cause of accidental death among people ages one through 24. The switchover, which happened in 2017, stems from both a reduction in vehicle-related deaths and a grim uptick in gun-related fatalities . From 2000 to 2020, the number of firearm-related deaths in the one-to-24-year-old age group increased from 7.3 per 100,000 people to 10.28 per 100,000, age-adjusted data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal. During the same period, motor-vehicle-related deaths declined from 13.62 to 8.31 per 100,000. “The crossing of these trend lines demonstrates how a concerted approach to injury prevention can reduce injuries and deaths—and, conversely, how a public health problem can be exacerbated in the absence of such attention,” wrote Lois Lee, a senior associate in medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, and her colleagues in the recent analysis of CDC data, which was published as a Perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine […]

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