By Kimberly Martin, Kansas PTA Vice President of Advocacy 2019-2021
According to the Center for Disease Control Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (CDC WISQARS) 78 children, teens and young adults are injured or killed by guns on a daily basis in the United States (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2019). The safest home for children and teens is a home without guns, but there are ways to make homes with guns safer. It is not enough to teach kids gun safety or not to touch a gun if they find one (“Firearm-Related Injuries Affecting the Pediatric Population,” 2012). There are however several ways to reduce the risk of children being injured or killed in homes with guns.
- Safe storage- all guns in your home should be stored unloaded with the gun and ammunition locked in separate areas. Make sure children and teens do not have access to the combinations or keys for the lock boxes or gun safes. Guns should also not be stored unlocked and loaded in your car (“Firearm-Related Injuries Affecting the Pediatric Population,” 2012)
- In use- When using a gun for hunting or target practice, do not take the safety off until you are ready to fire. Unload the gun before setting it down. Never point a gun in the direction of another person, even if it is unloaded (“Firearm-Related Injuries Affecting the Pediatric Population,” 2012).
- ASK (Asking Saves Kids)- More than a third of all unintentional shootings occur in the homes of relatives, friends or neighbors. It is important to ask if a home your child is going to has a gun and if they do how that gun is stored. Also make sure you have taught your child if they come across a gun they must immediately tell an adult and leave it alone(“Firearm-Related Injuries Affecting the Pediatric Population,” 2012).
- Guns in the Media- Talk with your children about gun violence they see in movies, tv shows or on video games. They need to understand that what they see in popular media may romanticize gun use but in real life children are badly injured and killed by guns. They must understand the dangers of guns (“Firearm-Related Injuries Affecting the Pediatric Population,” 2012).
To find out where to get a free gun lock in Kansas, go to this link. You can find a location near you listed by city. https://www.projectchildsafe.org/safety/safety-kit/Kansas
For more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Gun Safety go to this link. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/campaigns/gun-safety/Pages/default.aspx
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2019). Gun Safety and Children. Retrieved January 22, 2019, from https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/campaigns/gun-safety/Pages/default.aspx
Firearm-Related Injuries Affecting the Pediatric Population. (2012). PEDIATRICS, 130(5), e1416–e1423. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2012-2481