To identify trends in weapon-related deaths associated with the Homeland War (1991-1995) among children in Croatia.
Croatian children aged from birth through 19 years who died as the result of a weapon-related injury from 1986 through 2005.
Injury deaths of children by intent (homicide, suicide, operations of war, and unintentional), cause, and age.
Number and rate of injury deaths among Croatian children before, during, and after the war.
Compared with the period before the war, weapon-related homicide and suicide rates increased by more than 3-fold, and unintentional weapon-related deaths increased by more than 6-fold during the war. These increases persisted for 5 years following the end of the war and decreased more than 5 years after the war. Death rates from nonweapon causes did not increase during this period. Overall, 81.9% of the weapon-related deaths were caused by firearms and 18.1% were caused by explosive devices.
The Homeland War led to an increase in weapon-related deaths of all intents. Programs that focus on the prevention of weapon-related injuries should be integrated into programs that assist countries in rebuilding after political unrest.