Keeping Kids Safe From Guns
The best way to keep your kids safe from guns? Don't keep guns at home, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. And remember you are punishable, by law, if you keep guns within easy reach of children. But if you choose to keep guns in your home, be sure to be as safe as possible!
Here are more tips to prevent a tragedy in your home:
All Age Kids
- Buy special locks for all your guns. Always keep them unloaded and stored securely in a locked safe or case, away from kids' reach. Always keep the keys out of reach from kids in a safe and secure place.
- Store extra gun parts and ammunition separately from the gun.
- Gun cleaning supplies are poisonous, and should also be locked up.
- Don't leave guns unattended.
- Don't assume your child doesn't know where you keep the gun, or that they are not strong enough to pull triggers. Even kids that have been around guns are still curious about them and might try to play with them.
- Teach your child to resolve conflicts peacefully.
- If you decide you no longer want to keep a gun in your home, your local police department can tell you the safest way to get rid of it.
Kids 3-6 years old
- Many kids cannot tell the difference between a toy or a real gun. Talk to your child about what they she should do if they see a gun:
- Don't touch it, even if someone says you can.
- Leave the area where the gun is.
- Find and tell an adult.
- Find out about your child's friends and their homes:
- Ask your child if they know which of their friends' have guns in their house.
- Before letting your child play at the friend's house, talk to the parents about guns in their house. A good way to bring up the subject would be "Robbie always gets into everything, and I worry that if he saw a gun he wouldn't know it was dangerous. Do y'all keep guns in the house? Can you tell me how you store them?"
- Don't feel embarrassed to ask. If you don't like the answer you hear from the parents, invite the children to play at your house instead. If a parent gets offended by your question, reconsider whether you want your child playing at their house.
Kids Older than 6 years
- Talk about the guns they see on TV or videogames.
- Talk to your child that real guns are not toys and guns can kill people.
- Talk about what really happens when someone gets shot.
- Teach kids to stay safe and what to do if they come across an unattended gun.
Preteens and Teens
- If guns are part of your family culture, teach proper safety and storage.
- If your preteen or teen shows signs of depression, store your guns outside of your home (like in a safety deposit box or a friend's gun-safe) Data has shown that suicides among youth is higher where guns are easily available.