Every year, nearly 3000 children and teens die from gunfire, and nearly 14,000 are injured.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Safety advice for avoiding accidental shootings of and by kids

This article appeared on an Arkansas television news outlet about keeping children safe from gun accidents. The story points out the alarming statistics that are evident in the daily posts on this blog about the number of children who are injured or killed every day in America by bullets. From the story:
Believe it or not, 30 children are either killed or injured every day by firearms in the United States.
Most of those incidents result from guns owned by the child's family or friends. The startling fact is that most of them are preventable. 
Each year, 20,000 children end up in the emergency room as a result of a firearm. The lucky kids survive, but many die.
"What we do see is usually a kid gets a gun out, and plays with it, and either shoots himself or another child that may be with him," Lt. Terry Hastings of the Little Rock Police Department said.
A recent study found 63% of firearm injuries involving kids were intentional: from homicides, suicide attempts or encounters with law enforcement. But the remaining 37% is what's alarming. All of them were unintentional, meaning young innocent children ended up a victim.
And then the story went on to provide examples of kid shootings in Arkansas followed by this:
But sadly, it does. Of all the accidental shootings involving kids, more than 1/3 take place in the homes of their friends, neighbors or relatives.
Sleepovers or “play days” are a big deal for most kids. They happen all the time. But when was the last time someone asked you, “Do you own a gun?” It's a question many parents never even think about asking.
Experts say it should be a top priority.
And if the answer is yes, you should follow-up with even more questions.
It might be uncomfortable asking such a personal question - but it's one you can't afford not to ask - especially considering what could happen if and when your little one comes across one of these.
The numbers are alarming. But what it boils down to is common sense and education. You must teach your kids what to do if and when they find a gun. And you must take safety precautions in your home, such a buying a safe and gun locks.
But others will argue that your best bet is to not even keep a gun in your home.
That's a decision every family will have to make.
There are places to get more information about kids and guns. The Center to Prevent Youth Violence is all about asking if there are guns where your children play or hang out. Asking a simple question could save a life.

The most important thing to remember is that every gun in the hands of a child or teen must first pass through the hands of an adult.

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