Friday, December 21, 2012

The AAP Policy on Firearm Safety

Might not it be helpful if, coincidentally, the Council on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention for the American Academy of Pediatrics had just updated their policy statement regarding firearm-related injuries?  Indeed, just two months ago, the AAP published an update, featuring a mere 66 citations worth of evidence, rather than politicized talking points.

A couple interesting statistics from their summary:
 - The firearm-associated death rate among youth ages 15 to 19 has fallen from its peak of 27.8 deaths per 100 000 in 1994 to 11.4 per 100 000 in 2009.
 - However, of all injury deaths of individuals younger than 20 years, still 1 in 5 were firearm related.
 - For youth 15 to 24 years of age, firearm homicide rates were 35.7 times higher than in other high-income countries.
 - For children 5 to 14 years of age, firearm suicide rates were 8 times higher, and death rates from unintentional firearm injuries were 10 times higher in the United States than other high-income countries. 
 - The difference in rates is postulated to the ease of availability of guns in the United States compared with other high-income countries.

Their recommendations section seems quite straightforward:
 - The most effective measure to prevent suicide, homicide, and unintentional firearm-related injuries to children and adolescents is the absence of guns from homes and communities.
 - Health care professionals should counsel the parents of all adolescents to remove guns from the home or restrict access to them.
 - Trigger locks, lock boxes, gun safes, and safe storage legislation are encouraged by the AAP.
 - Other measures aimed at regulating access of guns should include legislative actions, such as mandatory waiting periods, closure of the gun show loophole, mental health restrictions for gun purchases, and background checks.
 - The AAP recommends restoration of the ban on the sale of assault weapons to the general public.

Any chance policymakers might listen to the society of physicians "Dedicated to the health and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults"?

"Firearm-Related Injuries Affecting the Pediatric Population"

1 comment:

  1. Policymakers in Florida did listen to the AAP. They then realized there was a danger in their community, and acted to stop it - by restricting the questions pediatricians could ask parents about firearm ownership.

    Both the legislature and the governor voted in favor of the "gag rule." It would still be law if not for the decision of a US district judge.


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