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June 1988

Characteristics of Fatal Gunshot Wounds in the Home in Oklahoma: 1982-1983

Am J Dis Child. 1988;142(6):623-626. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150060057029

• Children are a unique group at risk of injury from firearms because of their immaturity, curiosity, and imitative behavior. All unintentional firearm deaths in persons younger than age 20 years that occurred in Oklahoma in 1982 and 1983 were reviewed. There were 32 unintentional deaths from firearms in children from birth to age 19 years. The death rate in rural counties was four times that of urban counties. Twenty-seven deaths (85%) occurred at home, with an adult present in only two cases. The home death rate for males was 5.2 times that of females, with 15-to 19-year-old males most at risk. The rates among whites and Native Americans were similar, at 1.5 and 1.2 per 100000, respectively, with no deaths among the black population. This review concurs with previous studies that firearms are a significant cause of mortality in the pediatric age group. Counseling parents about the hazards of firearms may prevent deaths through better supervision and more responsible gun care and storage.

(AJDC 1988;142:623-626)