SAN ANTONIO – When the stay-at-home orders were issued at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, there were fears that more time spent indoors for families would result in an increase in various child injuries.
The first numbers are trickling in from University Health System’s Level 1 Adult and Pediatric Trauma Center from the last three months, and doctors hope some of the more troubling statistics will not turn out to be trends.
The most alarming statistic is the number of children injured by gunshot wounds, which caught the eye of University Health’s Pediatric Trauma Medical Director, Dr. Lillian Liao.
“Is this really, truly a trend, or is it just something that like next month we’re going to drop back down again? But when we do see such a huge spike, it’s really double the number that we normally have in other months," she said.
Here’s what Liao is talking about.
In 2019, there were three children injured by gunshot wounds in March and two in April. In 2020 during the stay-at-home orders, there were six children shot in March and another nine shot in April. Some of the incidents were accidental and some are being investigated, but Liao and others in the community said it’s an indication more needs to be done to keep kids safe from guns.
“It’s important for us to continue to push out to the community that we are in this pandemic together and it is difficult to not be able to socialize or socialize as much with your family members or your social support network. I think it does contribute to the additional injuries and children that we’re seeing," Liao said.
There is a bit of good news during the same time period in regard to trauma and kids. Apparently, so many parents did abide by the quarantine order that the number traumas caused by vehicle crashes declined dramatically.
In March and April 2019, there were an average of about 60 injuries from car crashes compared to this year, when there were half that many, Liao said.