How to Prevent Gun Accidents Involving Children
Whether you’re for strict gun control or strict Second Amendment interpretation, the fact remains that 40% to 45% of homes in America have a firearm. Between 17% and 19% of adults own a handgun and 30% to 34% own a gun of some type. And, alarmingly, 20,000 children each year visit emergency rooms due to firearm injuries.
Proper gun safety practice and choosing the correct method of gun storage and safety can practically eliminate gun accidents involving children. Knowing the facts and proper safety protocol for your home can save lives.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 5.7 the most effective way to eliminate the hazards and possibility of unintentional gun accidents involving children is to remove all guns from the home. However, if eliminating guns from the home is not an option, then teaching children about gun safety and the safe storage of firearms is essential to a safe home and injury prevention.
It’s important to teach children that guns are real, unlike guns that are toys, on video games, or in movies and cartoons. Teach children that a gun can seriously injure or kill another person or themselves by simply touching it. The devastating effects of a gun accident may be a difficult concept to convey, but the more you talk about the danger, the more they will begin to understand the magnitude of the harm.
Teach children to follow these rules when coming into contact with any gun:
- Stop what they’re doing.
- Do not touch the gun and leave the area where the gun is.
- Call a parent immediately. If a parent is not available, call 911.
- If a friend offers to show you a gun or wants to play with a gun, say no and call a parent right away.
If you are keeping a gun in your home you have a duty to keep children safe and act in a responsible manner to prevent gun accidents involving children. To ensure the safest environment for your family and friends:
- Take the ammunition out of the gun.
- Lock the gun and keep it out of reach of kids. Remember that children are resourceful and hiding the gun is not enough.
- Lock the ammunition and store it apart from the gun.
- Store the keys for the gun and the ammunition in a different area from where you store household keys. This location should be known only by adults and out of reach of children.
- Lock up poisonous gun-cleaning supplies.
- When handling or cleaning a gun, do not leave the gun unattended.
- Never use or handle a gun irresponsibly, jokingly, or while intoxicated.