J Pediatr Surg 2019 Nov 23;54(11):2375-2381. Epub 2019 Apr 23.
Department of Surgery, Memorial University Medical Center, Savannah, Georgia. Electronic address:
Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate our institution's experience with pediatric firearm events. We sought to determine the relationship between a community's level of socioeconomic distress and the incidence of youth gun violence.
Methods: We performed a retrospective review of children <18 years involved in firearm events. Using visual cluster analysis, we portrayed all firearm events and violent firearm events (assaults + homicides). Distressed community indices (DCIs) were obtained from an interface that uses US Census Bureau data. Incident rate ratios (IRRs) were calculated for firearm circumstances (i.e. assault, homicide, suicide) using a DCI. Significant IRRs were analyzed to discern which DCI metrics contributed most to gun violence.
Results: There were 114 children involved in firearm events; 66 were county residents. The DCI of injury location significantly predicted total firearm events (IRR 1.02, 95% CI 1.01-1.03), assaults (IRR 1.02, 95% CI 1.01-1.05), and violent firearm events (IRR 1.03, 95% CI 1.01-1.05). The proportion of adults without a high school diploma, poverty rate, median income ratio, and housing vacancy rate were highly predictive of gun violence (VIP >1).
Conclusion: Community distress significantly predicts pediatric firearm violence. Local interventions should target neighborhoods with high levels of distress to prevent further youth gun violence.
Level Of Evidence: Retrospective study, IV.