Purpose of review
Firearms are a leading cause of death and injury in children, especially in the United States. Many of these injuries present to emergency departments and pediatric ICUs, prompting a need for updated prevention, interventions, and trauma-informed care. This review explores the evidence for prevention and screening for access to firearms, types of injuries, and considerations for mass casualty events.
Firearm-related injuries lead to over 20 000 emergency department visits annually in children and carry a higher risk of severe injury or death. Screening high-risk patients for access to firearms is suboptimal, despite evidence showing reduction in suicide deaths and increased safe storage. While mass casualty shootings represent a low proportion of all firearm-related morbidity, they have brought heightened attention to focus on quality research.
Firearm-related injury is a public health crisis and presents a unique risk to children and adolescents. A firearm in the home, especially one with children, significantly increases the risk of death by homicide or suicide. Research on gun violence is leading to important national conversations on gun control and the role of physicians in the prevention of injury and advocacy for effective interventions and legislation.