As any parent knows, children are curious by nature. They want to open doors, go through drawers and discover new hiding places inside closets Airsoft. That’s why if you have a firearm in your home, storing it safely should be your priority when it comes to child safety.
“If you keep a firearm at home, restricting access to the gun is the most important thing you can do to keep children safe from unintentional or intentional shooting,” says Dr. Marisa Abbe, Ph. D., CPSTI (Instructor Passenger Safety Certification), Injury Prevention Manager at Children’s Health℠. “Storing your gun safely can reduce the chance of a gunshot by 70% to 73%.”
What are the statistics on child safety and firearms?
Firearm injuries are the second leading cause of accidental injury deaths among children in the U.S. Of those deaths, the youngest children (ages 2 to 10) are most likely to be victims of unintentional shootings.
“Some parents may not be concerned about their children accessing a firearm at home. But children as young as 3 are strong enough to shoot,” says Dr. Abbe.
For older children, including preteens and teens, gun deaths are often linked to homicide or suicide. In 2019, suicide became the leading cause of death in young people aged 11 to 24, surpassing car accidents for the first time.
“We’re seeing higher rates of suicide among younger children, and a lot of that is due to easy access to firearms,” Dr. Abbe says.
Gun Safety Tips for Parents
When it comes to guns and children, it is important to remember that “concealed does not mean safe.”
“Children are curious by nature. You’re going to find the gun if you put it in a drawer or a closet,” says Dr. Abbe. “It’s up to the adult to make sure the gun has the safety on to keep everyone safe.”
To protect your family, use the triple safety method for storing a firearm:
Keep the gun safe
Keep the weapon unloaded
Store ammunition (bullets) in a different place than where you keep the gun
There are many options available for gun safes, including combination, padlock, and biometric safes that can only be opened with a fingerprint. Cable locks can be used for a wide variety of weapons and prevent the gun from firing by locking the barrel. Trigger locks go over the gun’s trigger to prevent firing and should never be used with loaded guns. Gun safes, while more expensive, can provide the best protection to keep your children safe. Check which option may be best for your situation.
Dr. Abbe adds that it’s also crucial to take gun safety classes when purchasing a firearm. These classes can teach adults how to properly maintain, clean, and store firearms to keep family members safe.
If someone in your home is experiencing a mental health crisis where they may be at risk of harming themselves or others, Dr. Abbe recommends storing the gun outside the home temporarily. She can contact a trusted friend or family member who can keep the gun safe in her home. Local gun ranges may also offer storage.
Why You Should Ask About Guns Before Boys Juice Dates
In Texas, it is estimated that up to half of households own a gun and nearly a third of those guns are not stored properly. Although your family can take gun safety precautions, it’s important to ask other parents if they do the same.
If your child goes to a new friend’s house, be sure to ask the parents if they have guns in the house and, if they do, how they store them. This conversation may be uncomfortable, but it is still essential for the safety of your child, your friend, and the friend’s family. Dr. Abbe recommends addressing the issue by adding it to your list of typical checks she makes before leaving her child.
“Include the topic in the conversation with other questions you ask, such as allergies, booster seats, and who will care for the children,” says Dr. Abbe. “Remind them that children are curious and can go anywhere.”
Talk to children about gun safety
Whether you have a gun in your home or not, it is crucial to teach your children about gun safety. If children find a gun, they should:
Stop. Do not touch the weapon
Inform an adult immediately
While it is important to communicate this message, simply talking to children about gun safety is not enough. If you have a gun in your home, storing it properly is the best way to keep your family safe.
“Firearms are an extremely high-risk item in the home and we need to protect children using the triple safety method,” explains Dr. Abbe. “This is not about the right to own a firearm. “It’s about keeping your family safe from that gun.”
Get more information
The Children’s Health injury prevention team is here to help make life better and safer for children. If you have any questions about gun and child safety or other injury prevention programs, please call us at 214-456-1870 for more information.