Guns cause the deaths of more children in the U.S. than the flu or asthma, according to a comprehensive new report on gun violence and kids published in the journal Pediatrics. Each day, an average of 3.5 people under the age of 18 are shot to death and another 15.5 are treated in a hospital emergency department for a gunshot wound, says the Los Angeles Times. Between 2012 and 2014, an average of 1,287 children and adolescents died each year as a result of gun violence, making firearms second only to motor vehicle crashes as a cause of injury-related deaths. Another 5,790 were treated for gunshot injuries in U.S. hospitals.
The new analysis, by statisticians at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Texas, is an unusually comprehensive look at the toll that guns take on children. It draws from federal databases of injuries and deaths, hospital records, and an effort launched in 2003 to track violent deaths and the circumstances surrounding them in at least 17 states so far. The majority of the nearly 1,300 children killed in gun-related incidents each year are boys between the ages of 13 and 17. In homicides, which represent an average of 53 percent of annual gun-related deaths among children, African-American youths are the most likely victims. Black children were found to have the highest rates of death-by-firearm of any ethnic group counted.