Firearms surpass motor vehicle crashes as the most common cause of death in youths and children

Crossing Lines — A Change in the Leading Cause of Death Among U.S. Children, an article published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine, outlines how we have reached this grim milestone and the straightforward ways to change the trend line on gun violence.

Motor Vehicle vs. Firearm Deaths, Ages 1-19

Chart created by RICAGV.

The authors, from Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard, discuss the importance of a public health approach to reduce deaths and injuries.

The article compares the success of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a federal agency “whose mission is to save lives and prevent injuries caused by road-traffic crashes,” and the lack of federal attention to the epidemic of gun violence, particularly among young people.

The achievements of the NHTSA can be replicated by treating firearm safety as the public health crisis that it is. With the proper infrastructure in place and resources intelligently applied we can reduce gun violence and begin to alleviate the massive harm that continues to plague our children and our communities.