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Firearm Injuries and Children: An APSA Position Statement

Firearm injuries are the second most common cause of death in children who come to a trauma center, and pediatric surgeons provide crucial care for these patients. The American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA) is committed to comprehensive pediatric trauma readiness, including firearm injury prevention. APSA supports a public health approach to firearm injury, and it supports availability of quality mental health services. APSA endorses policies for universal background checks, restrictions on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, strong child access protection laws, and a minimum purchase age of 21 years. APSA opposes efforts to keep physicians from counseling children and families about firearms. APSA promotes research to address this problem, including increased federal research support and research into the second victim phenomenon. APSA supports school safety and readiness, including bleeding control training. While it may be daunting to try to reduce firearm deaths in children, the U.S. has seen success in reducing motor vehicle deaths through a multidimensional approach – prevention, design, policy, behavior, trauma care. APSA believes that a similar public health approach can succeed to save children from death and injury from firearms. APSA is committed to building partnerships to accomplish this.

Type of Study

APSA Position Statement.

Level of Evidence

Level V, Expert Opinion.

Visual abstract created by Alejandra M Casar Berazaluce, MD - Pediatric Surgery Research Fellow at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

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