“Guns were the leading cause of death among children and teens in 2020, accounting for more deaths than COVID-19, car crashes, or cancers.”
– The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions
The Pediatric Chaplains Network grieves for the loss of life as well as the semblance of safety for those seeking an education and community at school. This is the time to acknowledge that the threat of gun-related injury and death impacts the health and well-being of children in the United States. It is not a rare occurrence. Pediatric chaplains working in general hospitals as well as stand-alone pediatric hospitals most likely will provide care for children impacted by gun violence.
According to the website, Gun Violence Archive, in 2022, 1,680 children were killed via gun violence, and another 4,487 children were injured. In 2023, as of March 28th, 403 children have been killed due to gun violence, and another 957 children injured. These numbers take into account unintentional shootings, homicide/suicide, and mass shootings. Regarding children, a majority of deaths and injuries from mass shootings happen in the school environment. There were 46 reported school shootings in 2022, the most in any year in the 21st century.
These facts are jarring yet pertinent to the work of pediatric chaplains. Trauma centers receive victims of gun violence and chaplains bear witness to the devastation and grief that accompany it. The secondary trauma inflicted on those that respond to these deaths and injuries can take a toll. The Pediatric Chaplains Network acknowledges this and is active in seeking ways to continue to care for pediatric chaplains as they navigate these instances of gun violence professionally and personally.
The Pediatric Chaplains Network maintains its commitment to advocating and inspiring pediatric chaplaincy and enhancing the spiritual care of children and families in healthcare through research, education, and supportive collaboration among its members.
Thank you for being a part of this community and for being a person who cares for children.