Half of all unintentional shootings are committed by children and teenagers. The most effective way to keep kids safe from gun injuries is to have no guns in a home where children live or play.
If you do have a gun in your home, follow these important tips to prevent accidental injuries. Keep kids from accessing firearms by storing ammunition and firearms separately, keeping guns unloaded and locked away, and ensuring that both are safely out of reach.
Safe Kids Mid-South, led by Le Bonheur Children’s, offers these important gun safety tips:
Store Guns and Ammunition Safely
- Store guns in a locked location, unloaded, out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store ammunition in a separate locked location, out of the reach and sight of children.
- Keep the keys and combinations hidden.
- When a gun is not in its lock box, keep it in your line of sight.
- Make sure all guns are equipped with effective, child-resistant gun locks.
- If a visitor has a gun in a backpack, briefcase, handbag or an unlocked car, provide them with a locked place to hold it while they are in your home.
- Leaving guns on a nightstand, table, under a sofa cushion or other place where a child can gain access may lead to injuries and fatalities.
Talk to Your Kids and Their Caregivers
- Explain how a gun your kids might see on television or a video game is different from a gun in real life. “A gun, in real life, can really hurt people”.
- Teach kids never to touch a gun and to immediately tell an adult if they see one. Role play these steps with them because children are so curious that most will say never to touch a gun, but they pick it up anyway!
- Talk to grandparents and the parents of friends your children visit about safe gun storage practices.
Dispose of Guns You Don't Need
- If you decide that you no longer need to have a gun in your home, dispose of it in a safe way. Consult with law enforcement in your community on how to do so.