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Penetrating head injuries in children due to BB and pellet guns: a poorly recognized public health risk. J Neurosurg Pediatr 2016 Feb;17(2):215-221

Date

10/27/2015

Pubmed ID

26496633

DOI

10.3171/2015.6.PEDS15148

Scopus ID

2-s2.0-84971449390   12 Citations

Abstract

OBJECT Nonpowder guns, defined as spring- or gas-powered BB or pellet guns, can be dangerous weapons that are often marketed to children. In recent decades, advances in compressed-gas technology have led to a significant increase in the power and muzzle velocity of these weapons. The risk of intracranial injury in children due to nonpowder weapons is poorly documented. METHODS A retrospective review was conducted at 3 institutions studying children 16 years or younger who had intracranial injuries secondary to nonpowder guns. RESULTS The authors reviewed 14 cases of intracranial injury in children from 3 institutions. Eleven (79%) of the 14 children were injured by BB guns, while 3 (21%) were injured by pellet guns. In 10 (71%) children, the injury was accidental. There was 1 recognized assault, but there were no suicide attempts; in the remaining 3 patients, the intention was indeterminate. There were no mortalities among the patients in this series. Ten (71%) of the children required operative intervention, and 6 (43%) were left with permanent neurological injuries, including epilepsy, cognitive deficits, hydrocephalus, diplopia, visual field cut, and blindness. CONCLUSIONS Nonpowder guns are weapons with the ability to penetrate a child's skull and brain. Awareness should be raised among parents, children, and policy makers as to the risk posed by these weapons.

Author List

Kumar R, Kumar R, Mallory GW, Jacob JT, Daniels DJ, Wetjen NM, Foy AB, O'Neill BR, Clarke MJ

Author

Andrew Foy MD Associate Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin