3rd June 2023 – (Illinois) A tragic incident occurred in River Grove, Illinois, on Wednesday, when a child accidentally shot and killed another child with the gun belonging to the deceased child’s father. The incident occurred in the children’s shared household, and the father of the deceased child was outside when he was alerted to the accidental shooting. The case is still under investigation, and the police have not released any additional information.
This incident is just one of at least 128 accidental shootings by children in the U.S. this year, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-governmental organisation working to end gun violence. The data from the organisation also revealed that 54 of those shootings have been fatal.
The prevalence of accidental shootings by children is a concerning trend, and it highlights the need for better gun safety measures. The incident in Illinois underscores the importance of proper gun storage and responsible ownership, particularly when children are present in the household.
Moreover, young people in the U.S. exposed to shootings outside the home have for decades been without access to the broad range of intervention efforts and support at various stages of life in comparison to youth facing other forms of traumatic events, according to U.S. news portal BET. Pediatrician Nina Agrawal, who chairs the Gun Safety Committee for the New York state chapter of the American Academy of Paediatrics, emphasised the need to recognise that children are experiencing trauma and to provide them with the necessary support.
Agrawal’s young patients who have witnessed the effects of gun violence are developing chest pain, headaches, and other health concerns, which are common among youth experiencing a lack of sleep due to gun violence paranoia. The more time a child spends on high alert, the more disruptions to the immune system and brain function occur, as well as effects on mental and behavioural health, said Agrawal.
As gun violence continues to soar nationwide in the United States, children’s health experts are advocating for such traumatic exposure to be considered an “adverse childhood experience.” This recognition would allow for more comprehensive interventions and support for children who have experienced gun violence, helping to mitigate the long-term effects of trauma.