LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Doctors at Norton Children's Hospital say 20 children are killed every day by preventable injuries, and now, health care professionals are trying to raise awareness.
A vigil for child gunshot victims was held Monday morning. Candles were lit at Norton Children's Hospital in the healing garden in honor of the children who have been affected by gun violence.
Dr. Brit Anderson, a pediatric emergency medicine physician with Norton Children's Hospital, described the heartbreak in facing the mother of a child gunshot victim.
"I was stopped short by the look in her eyes," she said. "This incredible mixture of what seemed to me to be sadness and helplessness and fear, and there I was crouched on the floor next to this mom's chair, and words failed me. Because what can anyone say in a moment like that to make it better?"
Twenty-one kids have been killed, and 86 more have been hurt this year by gunfire alone in the Louisville area. That's an increase from 16 children who were killed in all of last year.
"It is heartbreaking for me to say and to realize every day at work that we cannot guarantee the safety of our community's children," Anderson said.
The latest gunshot victim from Louisville is a 3-year-old who was accidentally shot while playing alone in a bedroom. That child was shot in the chest and is expected to survive.
Experts say it's all preventable, and education is key.
"They're for hunting — for target shooting or for self-defense — and they make holes in things," said Barry Laws, president and CEO of Openrange Gun Range president/CEO. "So if your child is around, it could make a hole in your child. And you got to understand that. And if you don't understand that, you have no business having a gun."
There are safety measures gun owners should take to keep their families safe. Gun locks can be bought for as little as $7.
Norton Healthcare has extended National Injury Prevention Day to a week-long awareness event. The Big Four Bridge will be lit up in green in honor of the victims. People are encouraged to wear the color on Thursday, Nov. 18.
Norton Children's Hospital is offering free gun locks to anyone who needs one. To get one, call 502-629-5437. The hospital also provides gun safety lessons.
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