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Close up of handgun in safe

Gun Safety and Kids

By Dr. Sherin Amiri-Hooker, Newport News Pediatrics

In the U.S., about a third of homes with children have guns, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Last year alone, 285 children accidentally shot themselves or someone else. Most recently, you may have heard about a 5-year-old boy in Hampton who found a gun in his mother’s purse and shot himself in the wrist.

The best way to avoid unintentional gun injuries is to not have a gun in the home, but if you do, there are ways to protect yourself, others, and your child.

Locked and unloaded.

Safe storage should be a priority for gun owners. If you have a gun in the home, make sure it’s unloaded and safely locked away in a gun safe. Keep ammunition locked in a separate location. Do not share the keys or combination to the gun safe with your children.

Hunting and sport shooting.

If you use your gun for hunting or recreational use like target practice, keep the gun’s safety latch in place until you’re ready to shoot, and make sure it’s unloaded when you set it down. Never allow your young child to shoot a gun. Young children do not have the capacity to handle a potentially deadly firearm safely and responsibly – no matter how much you teach them about gun safety.

Ask about guns in other homes.

Don’t be afraid to ask if there is a gun in homes where your child visits and plays. More than a third of accidental shootings happen at a friend, neighbor or relative’s home.

Talk about gun safety with your children.

Kids are naturally curious. Don’t assume they know not to touch a gun. Talk to them about the dangers, and remind them that if they ever find a gun it’s important to stay away from it and tell an adult immediately.

Did you know?

Death by suicide in teens is four to 10 times higher in homes with guns. Remove all guns from your home if you have a teen who is at risk of suicide.

Children as young as 3 years old are strong enough to pull the trigger on a handgun.

A gun is 43 times more likely to kill a loved one than a burglar or other criminal.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.