State of the Science: A Scoping Review of Primary Prevention of Firearm Injuries Among Children and Adolescents

Ngo, Q. M., Sigel, E., Moon, A., Stein, S. F., Massey, L. S., Rivara, F., King, C., Ilgen, M., Cunningham, R., & Walton, M. A. (2019). State of the science: a scoping review of primary prevention of firearm injuries among children and adolescents. Journal of behavioral medicine, 42(4), 811-829.


Intentional and unintentional firearm injury is the second leading cause of death for youth, underscoring the need for effective primary prevention approaches that focus on increasing safe storage by caregivers and decreasing handling/carriage among youth. This article describes the state of the science for prevention of firearm injuries among children and adolescents. We applied PRISMA guidelines to present results from a scoping review using PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL, and CJ Abstracts for original research articles published between January 1, 1985 and March 1, 2018 in the U.S. focusing on primary screening or interventions for primary prevention of pediatric firearm injuries. In total, 46 articles met inclusion criteria: safe storage (23), screening (2), firearm handling/carriage/use (21). Across school, healthcare, and community settings, few evidenced-based programs exist, and data on firearm safety technologies are lacking. Programs have generally not employed rigorous designs, and/or assessed behavioral (e.g., carriage) or injury-related firearm outcomes. Evidenced-based prevention programs are needed to mitigate firearm morbidity and mortality among youth.

Keywords: Adolescents; Children; Firearm carriage; Firearm injury; Primary prevention; Safe storage; Universal prevention.