SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (CBS)—A new study has revealed that roughly 16 children were shot each day across the country.

Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York examined the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID), which tracks hospital inpatient stays for children in the United States.

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They found that firearm injuries caused more than 5,800  kids  to be hospitalized in 2012, or roughly 16 children each day, researchers say.

While the study indicates that a majority of the injuries for children under 15 were accidental, researchers say teens 15-19 were injured as a result of assault.

“Our findings add urgency to the need for preventive public health measures to reduce gun injuries in children,” said lead author Alyssa H. Silver, M.D., FAAP, attending physician and assistant professor of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hospital Medicine, Children’s Hospital at Montefiore/Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “The fact that 57% of firearm-related injuries in children under 15 years old were unintentional, for example, highlights the need for improved gun safety and storage practices.”

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According to the study, more than half of the children hospitalized for gunshot injuries (53%) lived in a ZIP code that fell within the bottom 25% of median household income.

The average length of hospitalization was 6 days, costing an average of $22,644 per stay. The total estimated national cost of the hospitalizations was $130 million,” said researchers.

Dr. Silver also called for increased research funding for additional studies on pediatric firearms injuries, alongside other major threats to children’s health. During the 2016-17 fiscal year, she noted, just $2.2 million in federal funding was provided through the National Institutes of Health for firearms related research, compared with $444 million for research on the Zika virus and $286 million for cystic fibrosis studies, for example.

Dr. Silver presented her findings last week at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in San Francisco.

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