Keeping kids safe around guns
10/14/2019 by Dr. Matthew Bernard
Kids are curious and quick, that's why guns and kids can be a deadly combination.
- It's estimated that about one-third of households with children ages 18 and under have a gun in the home.
- Children and adolescents who live in or visit homes with firearms are at an increased risk of fatal and non-fatal firearm-related injuries, suicide and homicide.
If you, as a parent, grandparent or other caregiver, keep guns in your home, here are some steps you can take to make sure kids are safe:
- Make sure guns are unloaded.
- Store them in a locked location, such as a gun safe, out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store ammunition in a separate locked location that's also out of the reach and sight of children.
- Hide the keys and combinations.
- When a gun isn't in its lock box, keep your eye on it. Don't leave guns on a nightstand, table or other place a child can find or reach it.
- Make sure all guns have effective, child-resistant gun locks.
- If a visitor has a gun in a backpack, briefcase, handbag or an unlocked case, provide them with a locked place to store it while they're in your home.
- If you decide to remove a gun from your home, dispose of it safely. To find out how to do that, contact your local law enforcement.
Also, take time to talk with your kids. Explain how a gun they might see on television or a video game is different from a gun in real life, which can really hurt people. Teach them never to touch a gun and to immediately tell an adult if they see one. And once you think your child is ready, enroll them in a gun safety training class.
Dr. Matthew Bernard practices Family Medicine at Mayo Family Clinic Northwest. He enjoys hunting for deer, pheasant, grouse, squirrel, elk and caribou.