Video Abstract

Video Abstract

Close modal
OBJECTIVES

We aimed to describe changes in pediatric firearm injury rates, severity, and outcomes after the coronavirus disease 2019 stay-at-home order in Los Angeles (LA) County.

METHODS

A multicenter, retrospective, cross-sectional study was conducted on firearm injuries involving children aged <18-years in LA County before and after the pandemic. Trauma activation data of 15 trauma centers in LA County from the Trauma and Emergency Medicine Information System Registry were abstracted from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2021. The beginning of the pandemic was set as March 19, 2020, the date the county stay-at-home order was issued, separating the prepandemic and during-pandemic periods. Rates of firearm injuries, severity, discharge capacity, and Child Opportunity Index (COI) were compared between the groups. Analysis was performed with χ2 tests and segmented regression.

RESULTS

Of the 7693 trauma activations, 530 (6.9%) were from firearm injuries, including 260 (49.1%) in the prepandemic group and 270 (50.9%) in the during-pandemic group. No increase was observed in overall rate of firearm injuries after the stay-at-home order was issued (P = .13). However, firearm injury rates increased in very low COI neighborhoods (P = .01). Mechanism of injury, mortality rates, discharge capacity, and injury severity score did not differ between prepandemic and during-pandemic periods (all P values ≥.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Although there was no overall increase in pediatric firearm injuries during the pandemic, there was a disproportionate increase in areas of very low neighborhood COI. Further examination of community disparity should be a focus for education, intervention, and development.

You do not currently have access to this content.