A comparison between non-powder gun and powder-gun injuries in a young pediatric population

Jennifer J. Freeman, Marielena Bachier-Rodriguez, Jessica Staszak, Alexander Feliz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Introduction Non-powder guns (NPG) are viewed as toys for children by the general public. Literature on firearm injuries in the pediatric population is increasing, however there are still large gaps in the published literature regarding NPG. We intended to identify and compare the epidemiology, circumstances of injury and outcomes of children with NPG versus powder-gun injuries (GSW). Patients and methods We performed a 6-year retrospective analysis of children 0–14 years old treated for NPG and GSW injuries at our level one pediatric trauma center. Mann-Whitney U test and Pearson's X2 were used to compare continuous and categorical variables, respectively. Results There were 43 NPG and 112 GSWs. Patients were predominantly male (36 children; 84%) NPG vs. 92 children; 82% GSW) with a median age in both groups of 11 years. Analysis of residential zip codes showed that 74% (32 children) NPG injuries and 85% (95 children) GSW lived in regions with higher poverty than the national level. Children with NPG injuries were more likely to be Caucasian (24 children; 56%) and to have suffered an unintentional injury (36 children; 84%), while children with GSW were African-American (80 children; 71%; p = 0.0002) and victims of assault (50 children; 45%; p < 0.0001). When compared with NPG, children with GSW had more severe injuries, longer hospital stays, and higher overall mortality. There were no significant differences in rate of emergent OR intervention and ED mortality between the two groups. Conclusion Our results highlight two important findings. First, NPG injuries were accidental and thus preventable with improved legislation and public education. Second, health disparities related to gun violence among African-Americans are prevalent even in early childhood and prevention efforts should include this younger population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1951-1955
Number of pages5
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Adolescents
  • Gun shot wounds
  • Health disparities
  • Non-powder guns


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