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I'M Onyi Silmon

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Five Things You Need To Know To Protect Your Kids From Guns

Published June 27th, 2019 by The Silmon Group

What happens when your child, despite knowing the dangers of handling guns, decides to pick one up and injures themselves with it?

Gun injuries are the second leading cause of death in children ages 1-17 in the United States. Many of which come from accidental gun injuries. Even more disturbing is when these injuries occur outside the home in another person's home. 

Recently, a three-year-old boy, from Katy, died after accidentally shooting himself with a gun from his parent's chest drawer. As a mother of four, I believe even one tragic gun death is one too many.

No family should experience the sadness, worry, and guilt associated with an emergency room visit due to a gunshot wound. 

It is the right of every American to bear arms and it is an individual choice to have one in your home.  

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states in an article that “The absence of guns from children’s homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries in children and adolescents.”. 

However, sometimes guns in homes are unavoidable. Adults in law enforcement carry and conceal weapons in their homes as part of their jobs.  Whatever the reasons, here are five things you need to know about having guns in your home so you can keep yourself and family members safe. 

Proper Gun Storage

Believing that hiding your gun especially from young children is enough to keep them protected can prove fatal. The majority of accidental gun deaths are caused by a failure to lock away guns from children.  Here are options for proper gun storage away from children in your home:

  • Unload your firearm and lock it in a cabinet not accessible to children.

  • Keep ammunition in a separate locked area.

  • Obtain a free safety kit featuring gun cable locks that prevent child access as a further precaution for locked guns. 

  • Never tell children of any age the location of the keys for the cabinet.

Asking Saves Kids (A.S.K)

According to A.A.P. it is vital to your child's safety to ask whether or not guns are stored safely in the homes where your children visit. We ask all kinds of questions before we let our children play in the home of another adult. Here are some statstics to drive the importance of this further.

Teenagers And Homes With Guns

According to U.S. News, teen suicide rates are on the rise with the highest numbers in nearly two decades.  There is an annual increase of 10% from 2014-2017 between the ages of 15-17 years of age. 

Furthermore, a study done by Boston University of Public Health found that household gun ownership was the largest predictor of youth suicide within states. 

In South Dakota, where gun ownership is under 60 percent, the suicide rate is 15.2 per 100,000. Compared to New York where gun ownership is 18.5 percent. Youth suicide in this state was 2.7 per 100,000, which is a decrease of nearly 13 percent!

Teaching Children The Importance Of Gun Safety

Teach your children the importance of not touching guns whether you have a gun in the home or not. In addition, share with them what to do if they find a gun in another adult’s home. Should they find a gun outside the home teach them to leave or call an adult. 

Unfortunately, education alone is not enough. Studies show even when children are taught to leave guns, their curiosity gets the best of them. This is contrary to adults’ idea that children will be too scared to touch a gun if found.

Modeling The RIght Behavior

As parents, when we are accustomed to something, we forget how it looks to our children? 

If guns are a part of recreational activities it is vital to model gun safety precautions and habits.:

  • Never assume a gun is unloaded. Check the action and chamber for bullets. 

  • Always point guns away from others, whether they are loaded or unloaded to prevent injuries. 

  • Never put your finger on the trigger unless you are preparing to shoot. 

Parents should not assume children recognize the dangers associated with improper gun usage. Unfortunately, there are many cases, some in our own backyard, that prove that is not the case. 

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