Nearly half of all households in the United States have one or more guns. So even if you do not have a gun in your own household, your child is likely to be exposed to a household that does at some point in time.
It is important to talk to your child about gun safety and what to do if he finds one.
In 1999, 3,385 children between the ages of 0-19 were killed with a gun. Of these deaths: 73 were children less than 5 years old, 416 were 5-14 years old, and 2,896 were 15-19 years old.
Teach your child the following rules regarding gun safety if he comes in contact with a gun:
- Don’t touch
- Remove yourself from the area
- Tell an adult
If you have a gun in your home:
- Make sure the gun is unloaded
- Lock the gun in a storage cabinet that is inaccessible to the children
- Lock the ammunition in a separate place from the gun
- Store the keys to the gun and ammunition cabinets out of the reach of the children
- Store all gun-cleaning supplies, many which are poisonous, in a locked cabinet also
- Never leave the gun unattended while cleaning or handling it
Gun Safety Away From Home
- Discuss gun safety with other parents if your child spends time in their homes and they own a gun
BB Guns, Pellet Guns, and Toy Guns
- BB and pellet guns should only be used under adult supervision, as they can seriously hurt and even kill someone
- Police officers may mistake a toy gun for a real one
- Teach your child to never point a BB gun, pellet gun, or toy gun at himself or another person
- Do not put caps from toy guns in your pocket, they can ignite and cause serious burns
Older children are more at risk for injury or death as a result of horseplay with a gun. Teenagers use them more for suicide and to commit a crime.