Firearms incidents were the leading cause of death in children under 19 in the United States in 2020. According to a University of Michigan study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday, this puts them at the forefront of road accidents.
The authors took a closer look at data from the US health service CDC for their study. More than 4,300 children and young people in the US were killed in shooting incidents in 2020. That is an increase of 29 percent in one year.
3,900 children lost their lives as a result of traffic accidents. The third leading cause of death was poisoning or overdose, killing more than 1,700 children and young people. That figure increased by more than 83 percent compared to 2019.
“The rising number of fatal firearms incidents is a long-term trend that shows that we are still failing to protect our youngest population from a preventable cause of death,” wrote authors Jason Goldstick, Patrick Carter and Rebecca Cunningham.
In total, more than 45,000 people were killed in 2020 in the US as a result of firearms incidents. That is 13 percent more than the year before. That increase is largely attributable to the homicide rate, which rose by more than 33 percent.
Road accidents have long been the leading cause of death among Americans under age 19. However, that figure has fallen sharply in the last two decades as vehicle and driver security has been drastically improved.