A new study has found that teenagers between the ages of 15-19 years old are more likely to be injured by firearms. The study found that hospitalization rate was higher in urban areas than rural areas, but for children between the age of 5-14 years old, the rural areas have more reported hospitalization incidents.

Firearms Among Teens

Author of the report, Dr. James Dodington, stated that males who are not white and are considered to be late adolescent are at a greater risk of injuries resulting from firearms. Dr. Dodington, who is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine, continued that the rates of firearm injury hospitalizations between rural and urban areas have not been defined.

He elaborated that the findings that show 5-year-old to 14-years-old from rural areas having a higher hospitalization rate has not been reported anywhere else, and though the study shows what is occurring, there is more investigation required.

The researchers of the study examined data from the Kids' Impatience Database, which was created by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The researchers used the data, which was collected from the years 2006, 2009, and 2012, and compared the hospitalizations by demographic and by intent, which was classified in the report as self-inflicted, assault, undetermined or unintentional. During this period, the researchers found that there were over 20,000 hospitalizations due to firearms.

Urban Vs. Rural

The scientists found that regardless of the area, 6 percent of children with a firearm died in the hospital. The study also supported previous findings that showed deaths due to firearms happen more frequently in urban areas, but suicidal rates and unintentional deaths from firearms are higher in rural areas.

The report suggests more community focused awareness needs to be raised in order to lower these incidences and more educational campaigns regarding mental health, safety and injury prevention, and violence prevention programs.

Dr. Megan Ranney, who was not involved in the study, stated that different strategies are needed in order to prevent this ongoing epidemic. Dr. Ranney continued that the same approach can not be used for children that live in vastly different areas.

"We've reduced car crash deaths, we've reduced smoking, we've reduced the number of deaths from HIV by using a good strong public health approach, and I'm confident we can do the same thing for gun violence. This paper highlights the very human toll of the epidemic across the country, but talking about it being a problem is not enough. We have to do something,"  Dr. Ranney stated.

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