COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Firearms have become the leading cause of death for children in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and pediatricians are calling it to be treated as a public health crisis.
In the wake of several mass shootings, doctors and pediatricians are emphasizing new data from the CDC, showing that in 2020, guns became the number one killer of children in the United States, surpassing other causes of death including cancer, poisoning, and motor vehicles.
“When you really look at the statistics, it’s not the mass shootings; it’s the every day,” said Dr. Derek McClellan, a pediatrician with Central Ohio Primary Care.
According to the report, nearly two-thirds of U.S. children who were killed by guns in 2020 were homicide victims, and these numbers have McClellan and other health officials concerned that gun violence involving children is becoming a public health crisis.
“We can make change, you know?” McClellan said. “We’ve done good things with limiting tobacco use. We’ve done things in pediatrics about SIDS and safe sleep habits, and car seat safety, and things like that.”
This is why he said gun safety and awareness has now become a topic of conversation between him and his patients.
“Just to ask those questions and just to remind parents that just because you’ve talked about it doesn’t mean you can’t double-check and make sure it’s locked up,” McClellan said.
Unlike most products in the U.S., federal laws do not require safety standards to be part of a gun’s design, which is another factor concerning many doctors and pediatricians when it comes to children and gun safety.