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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2019 Feb 19. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000001779. [Epub ahead of print]

Regional Differences in Pediatric Firearm-Related Emergency Department Visits and the Association With Firearm Legislation.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The objective of this study was to describe regional and temporal trends in pediatric firearm-related emergency department (ED) visits and investigate association with regional firearm legislation.

METHODS:

We conducted a cross-sectional analysis using the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample from 2009 to 2013 for children aged 21 years or younger. We calculated national estimates of firearm-related visits using annual census data and measured trends. We used state-level gun law scores to derive regional scores to measure strictness of firearm legislation. We used multivariable logistic and linear regression to measure regional differences in visits and their association with regional gun law scores, respectively.

RESULTS:

There were 111,839 (95% confidence interval, 101,248-122,431) ED visits for pediatric firearm-related injuries. Rates of visits varied by region, with the lowest rate in the Northeast and highest rate in the South (40.0 [34-45]; 70.8 [63.7-76.9] per 100,000 ED visits, respectively). Compared with the Northeast, odds of firearm-related ED visits were higher in the Midwest (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.8; 1.4-2.3), West (aOR, 2.5; 2.0-3.2), and South (aOR, 1.9; 1.5-2.4). Firearm-related visits remained consistent over time. A higher (stricter) regional median Brady gun law score was associated with a lower rate of firearm-related visits (β = -0.8; R = 0.9; P = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS:

Rates of pediatric firearm-related ED visits vary by region. Stricter regional gun laws were associated with lower rates of ED visits for pediatric firearm-related injuries. Further study of the social and cultural regional differences in gun ownership and the role of legislation in the prevention of pediatric firearm-related morbidity and mortality is warranted.

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