How to keep children safe from gun dangers

How to keep children safe from gun dangers

Did you know that about one-third of children in the United States has a gun in their home? In fact, an estimated 4.6 million children live with an unlocked, loaded gun. That’s a frightening statistic when you consider the fact that even young toddlers are able to find unlocked guns in their homes, and they have enough power to pull the trigger.

As a parent, you may not realize how serious a risk having a gun in your home is, especially for children. The reality is that having a gun in the home increases the risk of accidental shootings, suicides, and homicides. Unintentional shootings happen to children of all ages. Accidental deaths from gunshots are four times more likely in homes where guns are present.

What should you do if you keep guns in your home?

If you decide to keep guns in your home, be aware that many studies show that it is not enough to teach children about gun safety or not to touch a gun if they find it.

Safe storage. All firearms in the home should be locked and unloaded, and ammunition should be locked separately. Make sure children and teens don’t have access to keys or codes to lockboxes or gun safes. Remember not to leave loaded, unlocked firearms in your car or anywhere in your home.

Safe use. When using a firearm for hunting or target practice, leave the safety in place until you are ready to fire it. Always unholster your gun before you put it down. Although your child may want to take turns shooting, this is not a good idea. No matter how much instruction you give on how to fire safely, children are not competent and responsible enough to handle a potentially deadly weapon.

More than one-third of accidental shootings of children occur in the homes of their friends, neighbors, or relatives. That’s why it’s also important to make sure your child is safe while staying at someone else’s home.

Here’s how to help make sure your kids and their playmates don’t encounter unsecured firearms while they’re playing.

Do you have unlocked guns in your house?

Even if you don’t have guns in your own home, ask about guns and secure storage in other homes they go to. Just as you would ask about pets, allergies, supervision, and other safety issues before your child visits another home, add one more important question.” Do you have any unlocked guns in your house?” If so, reconsider whether you allow your children to play there, or talk to them about how to keep guns unloaded and locked.

Talk to your child and remind your child that if they come across a gun, they must stay away from it and tell you immediately.

Make sure your children understand that the gun violence they may see on TV, in movies, and in video games, they play at home or at a friend’s house is not real. They need to be told – and probably reminded repeatedly – that in real life, children are killed and seriously injured by guns. While popular media often romanticize the use of guns, children need to understand that these weapons can be very dangerous.