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Children’s ER doctor urges parents to properly store guns after rise in pediatric injuries

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – Last year, Children’s of Alabama saw more than 70 pediatric patients with a gun. Officials said it was the highest they had ever seen and so far this year the trend is not slowing.

Pediatrician Dr. Eric Jorge of Children’s of Alabama said he has seen a more than 50% increase in firearm injuries among children since the start of the pandemic, and with recent gun crimes already this year. , parents should be careful.

“You have to do everything in your power to prevent access to guns,” Jorge said. “A young child finds the gun in his house and unintentionally discharges it and kills himself or another person.”

Jorge said he saw parents’ lives changed forever after their child was the victim of intentional and unintentional gun crime. He said it’s also difficult for hospital staff because many of these injuries are preventable.

“It’s devastating for whoever the child was caring for at the time,” Jorge said. “You can’t replace a sweet, innocent life.”

Jorge said it’s up to parents and gun owners to be responsible, and it’s not enough to talk with your kids about gun safety.

“Their brains are not developed yet,” he said. “Therefore, the onus is on parents to prevent access to weapons and not to rely solely on the child or adolescent. Adolescents are impulsive.

He said it came down to storage and there were four main gun safety measures to take.

“Keep your guns locked,” Jorge said. “Keep your ammo locked. Store your weapons and ammo separately. Put away your unloaded weapons.

Pediatric gun crime has been on the rise for years and Jorge said it will continue until more safety measures are taken by parents and gun owners.

“Over the past 20 years, we have seen gunshot wounds triple. We don’t see it slowing down at all, until people start to safely store their guns. »

Dr. Jorge said gun crime is also impacting Alabama’s blood shortage. He said Children’s of Alabama is good on its supply, but gunshot wounds can take a lot of blood and many Alabama hospitals are already in short supply.

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