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- Even when taught about gun safety, studies have shown that children rarely respond the way they have been instructed.
- Properly securing your firearms is the best way to prevent accidents.
- Whether you have a gun in the home or not, it is important to teach your children about gun safety because children often encounter guns in the homes of friends and family.
Gun safety is something that every parent should take very seriously. Firearms are one of the leading causes of intentional and unintentional death among children in the U.S. Unfortunately many households do not store their firearms properly.
A study found that 34 percent of children in the United States lived in a home that had at least one firearm. In about 13 percent of these homes, at least one gun is stored in a way that makes them accessible to children.
Children are particularly vulnerable to gun accidents because of their natural curiosity. Children learn by touching, grabbing and using. Even when taught about gun safety, studies have shown that children rarely respond the way they have been instructed. Their fascination with guns and inability to fully comprehend the danger make a dangerous combination.
That is why securing your firearms is the best way to prevent accidents. You cannot guarantee what your child or their friends will do if they stumble on a gun.
If you own a gun, be sure it is stored properly
- Store your ammunition out of your gun and keep the ammunition and gun stored in separate locations.
- Keep your gun locked up and out of reach. Just hiding it is not enough. Children are naturally curious and are likely to know where it is hidden. A Harvard study found that almost 30 percent of parents who owned guns thought their children didn’t know where the gun was hidden. But in fact 39 percent of their kids did know where the gun was and 36 percent of boys and 12 percent of girls had actually handled the gun when their parents thought they had not.
- If your gun safe uses keys, keep them where children can’t easily reach or find them.
- Never leave your gun unattended, even for a minute. Take particular care when you are cleaning, traveling with, or carrying a gun.
- Old or antique guns should be treated the same as any other gun, even if you think their aren’t loaded.
All children should be taught gun safety
Whether you have a gun in the home or not, it is important to teach your children about gun safety. Many accidents occur when a child finds a gun in the house of a friend or relative.
- Explain the difference between a toy gun and a real gun. Children are used to watching people regenerate on video games or pretend play with a toy gun. They will need to be taught that a real gun is dangerous and can be deadly. Tell children that if they find a gun, they should never assume it is a toy. Studies show that children as old as 12 often have a hard time telling the difference between a real gun and a toy gun.
- Before your child plays at a friend or family member’s house, ask them if they have a gun and if it is stored properly. When talking to your children about gun safety, ask them if any of their friends have guns and if they know where they are stored. Children are fascinated by guns and often know who has a gun and exactly where it is stored.
- Practice with your child what to do if they find a gun.
2) Don’t touch it
3) Leave the area (Children are often shot by other children, so your children need to understand that even if they don’t touch the gun they can still be in danger if somebody else decides to.)
4) Tell an adult right away
Gun safety with teens
Households with teens are less likely to store their guns properly, but most firearm injuries happen to teens. Studies have also shown that teenagers who have a gun in the home are more likely to commit suicide. Even if your teenager is used to guns and knows how to use them, it is wise to keep them inaccessible.
More information about child gun safety in Utah, visit bulletproofkidsutah.org
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