It’s a sobering statistic that should have you re-thinking where you keep or firearms or where you let your children visit. Deaths caused by firearms among U.S. children and adolescents outrank all other deaths other than car crashes. For adolescents aged 14-17, firearms deaths exceed the number of deaths related to car accidents. It is vital that you practice firearm safety in your own home, and ensure your kids are safe from firearms wherever you let them visit.
It is estimated that one in three homes with guns also has children living in the home. If you choose to keep guns in your home, it is important that you take safety precautions. Whether you are a parent or someone that has children visit your home, follow these steps to keep our children safe.
Any guns in the home should remain unloaded at all times and securely locked away from ammunition. Lock ammunition in a separate area of your home and never let children know where the key is or how to access the firearms or ammunition. Even if you have older children that have been taught gun-safety, they should not have free access to the firearms.
To take extra precaution, you can disassemble guns so they cannot be used. For instance, removing the bolt from hunting rifles or taking the pistol slide off of handguns.
Before They Visit
Before you let your child visit friends or relatives homes, ask if they have any weapons in the home. If they do, ask how they are stored and if anyone in their home has access to the guns other than themselves. Don’t be afraid to ask this question as it can save your child’s life. Even if the gun owner does not normally practice good gun storage safety, they will likely accommodate your request during your child’s visit.
If they don’t, or you do not feel your child will be safe, do not let them visit.
Teach Your Kids
Whether you have guns in your home or not – teach your children what to do in the presence of guns. Make it clear that they should never touch any guns whatsoever and to alert an adult immediately if they see one. In order for kids to fully understand the dangers of guns, do not allow them to play with toy guns. If they do come into contact with a real gun, they may mistake it for something harmless. It’s best not to blur the lines when it comes to kids safety.