Weapons detection at two urban hospitals

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2003 Aug;19(4):248-51. doi: 10.1097/01.pec.0000086236.54586.db.


Objective: To determine the type of weapons confiscated from an urban pediatric hospital and its affiliated general hospital.

Methods: This was a prospective evaluation of weapons confiscated from individuals entering 2 affiliated urban hospitals: a general hospital with over 85,000 emergency department visits and a freestanding children's hospital with over 45,000 emergency department visits. The security personnel are common between the 2 hospitals and use similar confiscation protocols. The institutions were evaluated between January 1, 2000 and August 31, 2000, which followed the implementation of weapons detectors at the children's hospital. The variety and scope of weapons confiscated were monitored.

Results: During the 8 months, 3706 metallic weapons were confiscated. This included 3446 from the general hospital and 260 from the children's center. The weapons confiscated at the general hospital compared with the children's hospital included guns (4 vs. 0), knives (2048 vs. 114), box cutter/razors (596 vs. 37), scissors (70 vs. 53), chemical sprays (205 vs. 50), tools (73 vs. 6), and other (450 vs. 0).

Conclusions: While more weapons were confiscated at the larger general hospital, the traditional sense that children's hospitals are at minimal risk is unjustified. The alarming number of lethal concealed weapons confiscated from both institutions demonstrates the importance of deterrent security measures, including the use of metal detectors to protect families and staff.

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Firearms / statistics & numerical data
  • Georgia
  • Hospitals, General / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Metals
  • Prospective Studies
  • Protective Devices
  • Safety Management / organization & administration*
  • Security Measures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Violence / prevention & control


  • Metals