If you own a gun, prevent accidental injuries by following these safety practicesPosted: October 25, 2021
In 2019, death by firearm became the leading cause of death for American children and teenagers. Half of all unintentional shootings are committed by children and teenagers. So far in 2021, there have been at least 284 unintentional shootings by children, resulting in 116 deaths and 183 injuries nationally.
Gun violence has a devastating impact on children in America – Nearly 60 percent of child and teen gun deaths are suicides and over 80 percent of children under the age of 18 who died by gun suicide used a gun belonging to a parent or relative.
4.6 million children are living in a home with a gun, and every 2 hours and 48 minutes a child dies as a result of an injury sustained by a gun. 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 to ensure they know what to do if they see one and get curious.
- 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.
Click here to learn more safety tips and how to prevent accidental shootings. Be sure to check with your pediatrician or nearest police department to obtain free gun locks.