Dr. Colleen Kraft told a group of medical providers.

Author Donna Vickroy

American children die from gun injuries 11 times as often as children in other high-income countries, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics said.

In fact, Dr. Colleen Kraft told a group of medical providers at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn Wednesday, unintentional injury is the leading cause of death among children in the United States.

“We know that gun violence takes a massive toll on our children. Not only on the children who suffer as a result of injury but on the 1 in 5 children who report having witnessed a shooting,” Kraft said.

In the United States, she said there are 88.8 guns per 100 people and 3 gun deaths per 100,000 people per year. By contrast, she added, the next highest country is Switzerland with 45.7 guns per 100 people.

“The difference there is dramatic — half as many guns but not anywhere near half as many gun deaths (0.2 per 100,000 people in Switzerland),” she said.

What if, she asked, “guns were regulated like cars?”

Speaking before doctors, nurses and students, Kraft proposed the idea of taking a public health approach to “keeping kids safe when it comes to gun violence.”

What if the law mandated that gun ownership require licensing, liability insurance, health requirements and inspections at regular intervals, she asked.

Once officials began looking at car ownership and driving rights as a data-driven public health and safety issue, she said, the result was seat belt laws, federal safety standards, speed limits and the introduction of child safety seats. And the result of those things has been a significant drop in automobile-related deaths, she said.

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One Child Is Too Many

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