Lynn M. Olson1, Mary Pat Frintner1, Chloe Somberg1


1American Academy of Pediatrics, Itasca, IL.

Presented at the 2019 Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting.

Background: Recent tragic instances of mass shootings and urban violence have generated renewed concern among pediatricians regarding firearm violence. Experience as a clinician with gun injuries begins in training.

Objective: Examine pediatric residents’ experience during training in caring for children injured by guns, and attitudes toward 1) counseling families and 2) public policies to address gun injury.

Methods: Data drawn from the 2018 AAP Annual Survey of Graduating Residents, a random sample across all US programs (response=49%; analytic sample=480). Respondents were asked if they cared for children injured by guns during training. Using a 5-point scale (strongly agree to strongly disagree), respondents also expressed their attitudes toward counseling by pediatricians (3 items) and public policies that may reduce firearm injuries (6 items). Chi-Square examined variations in attitudes by: experience treating gun injury, gender, region of residency training, and whether guns in their home growing up.

Results: 69% of residents report caring for gun injuries during training (median injuries=3). In their own background 30% grew up in a home with a gun. In attitudes toward counseling (Figure 1): 90% agree (strongly agree or somewhat agree combined) pediatricians should ask about the presence of guns in the home, 96% agree pediatricians should ask parents to unload/lock guns; and 44% agree pediatricians should ask parents to remove guns from the home. In attitudes toward public policy (Figure 2) high portions agree with policies such as universal background checks (95%) or banning assault weapons (90%), while few, (14%), support allowing teachers to carry guns in K-12. No attitude variations were found by whether the resident had treated gun injury. Few variations were found by gender. Support of public policies varied most by region of the country where trained and firearms in home growing up. For example, 98% in the Northeast, 93% in the West, 88% in the Midwest vs. 80% in the South support banning assault weapons (p <.001); 93% of those who grew up without a gun in the home vs 81% of those who did, support banning assault weapons (p<.001).

Conclusion: By completion of residency 7 of 10 pediatricians have direct experience with gun injuries. While personal background and geographic region shape attitudes on best approaches to reduce gun violence, large majorities believe pediatricians have a role in counseling families and support policies aimed at reducing gun injury for children.

PAS Abstracts Treating Gun Injuries Figure 1.png
PAS Abstracts Treating Gun Injuries Figure 2.png


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