Incidents of toddlers shooting themselves or others accidentally are on the rise in the US, with about eight such incidents reported in the past two weeks, including the Milwaukee incident where a two-year-old accidentally killed his mother with her gun kept in the back seat of their car. So far in 2016, there have been 23 cases of toddler shooting, with Georgia topping the list.
The recent ones include a three-year-old boy in Grout Township, Michigan, and a girl of the same age in Augusta in Georgia who accidentally shot themselves in the arm after finding a gun at home. They are expected to survive.
Other recent cases saw children die of their injuries – a two-year-old boy in Indiana fatally shot himself on 20 April with a gun kept in his mother's purse; a one-year-old girl in Kansas City in Missouri accidentally killed herself on 21 April with her father's gun while he was sleeping; a three-year-old in Natchitoches in Louisiana met a similar fate on 22 April; a three-year-old boy in Dallas in Georgia found a gun at home and fatally shot himself in the chest on 26 April.
The Washington Post reported that its analysis of toddler-involved shootings in 2015 showed that little children shot people at a rate of about one per week. As many as 23 such incidents have already occurred since 1 January, compared to 18 such incidents reported over the same period in 2015.
In most cases of toddler shooting, children target themselves with the gun, the newspaper said, adding that of the 23 cases this year, 18 saw the little ones shooting themselves, of which nine proved fatal. In the other five cases, toddlers shot other people, two of which were fatal – the Milwaukee incident and another incident in Alabama in February, where a three-year-old boy shot dead his nine-year-old sister.
According to pro-gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety, there have been at least 77 instances so far in 2016 where a child below 18 has accidentally shot someone. These figures do not include the instances where children are shot at either intentionally or accidentally.
Georgia saw the highest number of shootings involving small children, with at least eight incidents since January 2015. Texas and Missouri saw seven shootings each, and Florida and Michigan six shootings each.