Racial/Ethnic Specific Trends in Pediatric Firearm-Related Hospitalizations in the United States, 1998-2011

Matern Child Health J. 2016 May;20(5):1082-90. doi: 10.1007/s10995-015-1894-8.


Objectives: To determine the temporal patterns and the difference in trends by race/ethnicity of pediatric firearm hospitalizations (FH) among those aged 15 years or younger in the United States.

Methods: Data on pediatric FH was retrieved from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample between 1998 and 2011 (n = 16,998,470) using external cause of injury codes (E-codes) of the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical modification, (assault: E9650-E9654, unintentional: E9220-E9224, E9228, and E9229, suicide: E9550-E9554, E9556, and E9559, undetermined: E9850-E9854, and E9856 and legal: E970). Meta-regression was used to determine the significance of temporal trends. Survey logistic regression adjusted for survey year was used to examine association of pediatric FH with social and demographic characteristics.

Results: An annual reduction of 1.07 per 100,000 hospitalizations (p-trend = 0.011) was observed between 1998 and 2011. There was reduction in rate of unintentional-FH (p-trend = 0.013), suicide-FH (p-trend = 0.029), and undetermined-FH (p-trend = 0.002), but not assault-FH (p-trend = 0.18). A decline in rates of FH was observed among whites (p-trend = 0.021) and Hispanics (p-trend = 0.03) while an increase in rates of assault-FH was observed among black children. All other intents and all other racial/ethnic groups showed declining rates during this interval.

Conclusions: There was an overall decline in rates of pediatric FHs in this time period driven by a decline in unintentional-FHs. However there was an increase in assault FH among black children during this same time period.

Keywords: Firearm injury; Hospitalization; Injury severity; Pediatric; Temporal trends.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Firearms*
  • Health Surveys
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitalization / trends*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Poverty Areas
  • Racial Groups
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / ethnology
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data
  • Wounds, Gunshot / ethnology*
  • Wounds, Gunshot / etiology