Penetrating head injuries in children due to BB and pellet guns: A poorly recognized public health risk

Ravi Kumar, Ramesh Kumar, Grant W. Mallory, Jeffrey T. Jacob, David Daniels, Nicholas M. Wetjen, Andrew B. Foy, Brent R. O'Neill, Michelle J. Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-221
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

Keywords

  • Air gun
  • Air rifle
  • Bb gun
  • Brain injury
  • Children
  • Gunshot
  • Head injury
  • Pellet gun
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Penetrating head injuries in children due to BB and pellet guns: A poorly recognized public health risk'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Kumar, R., Kumar, R., Mallory, G. W., Jacob, J. T., Daniels, D., Wetjen, N. M., Foy, A. B., O'Neill, B. R., & Clarke, M. J. (2016). Penetrating head injuries in children due to BB and pellet guns: A poorly recognized public health risk. Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, 17(2), 215-221. https://doi.org/10.3171/2015.6.PEDS15148