Stories about: Kids’ Safety

Gun violence and children: Why it’s a public health issue

pediatric gun deaths
Images by Patrick Bibbins

“There have been more than 52,000 pediatric firearm deaths in the past 18 years,” says Dr. Eric Fleegler, a pediatric emergency physician at Boston Children’s Hospital as he kicks off his talk. It’s May 3, 2018, and he’s sharing the startling statistic with a rapt audience at the hospital’s Special Grand Rounds on Trauma and Gun Violence.

Later that same day, a 10-year-old Ohio boy will be shot in the face while he sleeps in bed, one of 11 bullets to enter his home during a drive-by shooting. Three North Dakota siblings ages 6 to 14 will be murdered by their mother — who will then kill herself — with a handgun. The following day, a 3-year-old South Carolina boy will fatally shoot himself in the head while playing with a gun he finds at a family friend’s home.

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Three simple ways we can all help prevent gun violence

3 ways to prevent gun violence

We are coming up on the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting, in which a young man opened fire on a classroom of first-graders, killing 20 of them and 6 adults — after having killed his mother at home. While nothing can eclipse this tragedy, since then there have been many more tragedies, such as the shooting in Las Vegas, the church shooting in Texas and the recent shooting in Northern California where, thanks to the quick actions of the staff of a local elementary school, the shooter’s attempts to enter the school were foiled. He shot through the windows instead, injuring a child.

In 2014, more than 33 thousand people in the United States died from firearms. For comparison, that’s the same as the amount who died from motor vehicle accidents. Just as we are tirelessly working to keep people from being killed in or by cars, we need to work tirelessly so that fewer people die from guns.

In the wake of Sandy Hook, it looked like we were might have legislation to help prevent gun violence. But quickly we got mired in politics — and a lot of very strong feelings. Clearly, for many people gun ownership is a precious right — and clearly, death from firearms is a complicated problem without easy fixes.

That’s why we need to look for simple ways that we can all work together so that fewer people die. Here are three suggestions.

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New concussion guidelines: Q&A with a sports medicine physician

thriving concussion mangement

For the last few years, concussions have been on the forefront of the minds of parents, coaches and athletes across the country, as their risks and prevalence become more well-known. This increase in visibility has raised a lot of concern about both the immediate and potential long-term effects of concussions sustained by children and adolescents. Luckily, research efforts have also increased, leading to a better understanding of how concussions should be managed in young athletes.

At the 5th International Conference on Concussion in Sport held in Berlin, Germany, physicians and researchers around the world came together to collaborate on the treatment of sport-related concussions.

One of the outcomes of the conference was a change in the suggested concussion return to play guidelines, a decision that was based on a vast array of research and scientific consensus from multiple institutions, including Boston Children’s.

Dr. William Meehan of Boston Children’s Sports Medicine Division explains what these changes are and how Boston Children’s helped make these advancements possible.

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Top tips for water safety and drowning prevention

Water safety in children.As summer approaches, families head outdoors for fun ways to beat the heat. One of the most cherished summertime activities is swimming — whether in a pool, lake or beach.

But each summer, it’s important to remind ourselves of the sobering statistic that drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here are a few tips to keeping your family safe in the water this summer.

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