Children and Teens Pay the Lasting Toll of Gun Violence

An estimated 112 children and teens die from firearm-related injuries every year, according to a study released Thursday. The report, published in the medical journal Pediatrics, also found that an additional 12,000 are treated in hospital emergency rooms after being shot. Researchers say these injuries and deaths take an emotional toll on survivors, who can experience both physical and mental health issues after the shooting occurs. And with gun violence remaining at high levels, many of those who experienced violence as children could still be dealing with it today.

The Psychological Impact

Gun violence has a long-lasting impact on children and teens. The psychological toll can be severe, and often includes anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental health problems. The physical toll can be just as severe, with injuries that range from minor to life-threatening. In some cases, the impact of gun violence can even lead to death.

How Gun Violence Affects Children’s Health

The mental and physical health effects of gun violence on children are long-lasting. Studies have shown that children who witness or are victims of gun violence are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental health issues. They are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as using drugs or alcohol, or carrying a weapon themselves. In addition to the mental health effects, gun violence can also lead to physical injuries or even death. Children who are exposed to gun violence often have difficulty concentrating in school and may have trouble forming trusting relationships with adults. The toll that gun violence takes on children is severe and long-lasting, with both immediate and lasting effects on their physical and mental health.

The Physical Effects of Having Parents Who Carry Guns

Even though they may never be shot, children who have parents who carry guns are affected by gun violence. The physical effects of having parents who carry guns can include anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and stomachaches. These symptoms can last for days, weeks, or even months after a shooting occurs. In some cases, children may even develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Understanding Risks for Young People

While it’s impossible to completely shield young people from gun violence, there are some things that can be done to help reduce their risks. First, it’s important to understand how guns are typically stored in homes where there are children. In one study, 60% of families with guns reported that they kept their firearms unloaded and locked up, but 36% said they kept at least one gun loaded and unlocked. Even if guns are stored safely, children may still be exposed to violence if they have friends or family members who keep guns in their homes.

Preventing Trauma Injuries in Kids After Mass Shootings

It’s hard to imagine. Your child is at school, safe and sound. Then, a mass shooting occurs. In the blink of an eye, your child’s world is turned upside down.

Although children are at greater risk for getting injured in any violent situation, mass shootings can lead to particularly devastating trauma injuries. Their frequency is increasing, too: In 2009, there were less than 10 school-related shootings per year. Today that number has increased to nearly 30. It’s a grim reality parents can’t ignore. Some communities have taken a proactive approach to help reduce these injuries by training teachers on how to respond in an active shooter situation. The idea is simple: Instead of running away or hiding, teachers stay with their students and use classroom objects—like bookcases—to hide behind while evacuating.

How Can Families Protect Themselves From Mass Shooting?

No family is safe from gun violence. In the wake of mass shootings, many parents are left wondering what they can do to protect their children. The best way to protect your family is to be prepared. Here are seven tips

No family is safe from gun violence. In fact, children and teens are at a higher risk of experiencing gun violence than adults are. According to a study by Everytown for Gun Safety, over half (54%) of mass shooting victims between 2009 and 2016 were under 30 years old. The most recent school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas on May 18 was no exception; 10 people—mostly students—were killed in that shooting. Just three days later on May 21, two people were injured in another school shooting near Cleveland.

Making sure your family is prepared for a mass shooting can mean making small adjustments to everyday life that can have a large impact if tragedy strikes.

Tips for Parents About Talking with Kids About Tragedies Like This One

  1. It’s okay to not have all the answers.
  2. Reassure your children that they are safe.
  3. Acknowledge your child’s feelings.
  4. Be a good listener.
  5. Help your child put his or her feelings into perspective.
  6. Encourage your child to express him- or herself in a healthy way.
  7. Seek professional help if you feel like you need it.
  8. Don’t let fear take over your life.

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