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Handguns Responsible for More Child Hospitalizations, Deaths Than Any Firearm

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Thousands of children in the United States are injured each year from gunshot wounds, and handguns are responsible for more hospitalizations and in-hospital deaths of children than any other type of firearm, one study claims.

A report presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics says 7,5000 children are injured and 500 die every year, and those numbers are increasing.

Dr. Arin Madenci, co-author of the study, says reported injuries were stronger in households with children and loaded, unlocked guns.  Keeping the weapons at home often defies logic, she explains.

"Many of these families are keeping guns in households for the exact opposite reason -- protection," Madenci says.

Researchers reviewed more than 36 million child hospitalizations between 1997 and 2009 and found that for every 1 percent increase in household gun ownership, there was a 0.7 percent increase in gunshot wounds occuring in homes with any guns. The hospilization increased to 2.9 percent in homes where the gun was not stored safely.

"I think it's important for physicians to advocate, speak with families about the dangers of keeping guns in households," Madenci says.

The study concludes that policies designed to reduce the number of such firearms, particularly handguns, may effectively reduce gunshot injuries in children.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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