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

"Accidental" or "Unintentional"?

Here at Kid Shootings we use the term “accidental” for shootings of an unintentional nature because that is the term most often used in media reports.

However, the term “accidental” is a misnomer, as it implies that the shooting couldn’t have been prevented, like an act of nature.  In reality, though, nearly every unintended shooting is preventable with good safety practices, supervision, safe storage of guns, and common sense. 

How can unintentional kid shootings be prevented?

  • Education about the dangers of guns is important.  Talk to your children about the dangers and what to do if they see a gun.  Instruct them not to touch it, to leave the room, and to tell an adult, and to tell an adult if they hear of a child who has a gun in their possession.  Children should Speak Up! when they hear about guns in the wrong hands.
  • Monitor what your young child watches on TV or movies, and what video games they play.  Young children are impressionable, and can too easily become desensitized to the dangers of firearms in our gun-crazy culture.
  • Keep guns locked and unloaded whenever possible.
  • Consider, instead, removing guns from the home completely.  A gun in the home is at least 22-times more likely to be used to harm a family member than to be used to defend a family member.*
  • Children are naturally curious and impetuous, including even the most well-behaved kids.  As such, having a gun in the home with a child is an unacceptable danger.  Children also have an often-surprising ability to find keys and discover combinations, rendering even a locked and unloaded gun dangerous.
  • ASK about guns where your children play. 
  • If a minor is handling a gun, such as when hunting or when strictly supervised, make sure they first understand the rules of gun safety.
  • Support Child Access Prevention laws and advocate for one in your state and municipality, if it is not already there.  These laws mandate safe storage of guns in homes with children and hold gun owners responsible for safe storage.  CAP laws have been shown to significantly reduce shootings in the states that have them, for both children and adults.

Remember, as we say in so many articles here at Kid Shootings, “Every gun in the hands of a child must first pass through the hands of an adult.”  It is ultimately up to gun owners to keep their weapons out of the hands of children.

For more facts and statistics about children and unintentional shootings, THIS is an excellent site from the Common Sense About Kids and Guns website.  We also invite you to check the "Related Websites" links on the right side of this page.

Let’s work together to help reduce unintentional shootings.

Kellermann, Arthur L.MD, MPH, et al. “Injuries and Deaths Due to Firearms in the Home.” Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection, and Critical Care 45 (1998): 263-67


  1. My 14 year old son shot himself with my 40 smith and Wesson. 1 shot and my baby is gone. He died on November 6 2013. I'm so sorry thomas

  2. Latoya, we're so sorry for your loss. Absolutely heartbreaking, and so recent! We work so hard to try to stop these incidents.


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