Gun Safety Tips For You and Your Kids

News Team's picture
By News Team on September 16, 2021

Kids are by nature curious. When that curiousity meets an improperly supervised firearm, the results can be tragic.
 
Children ages 0-14 accounted for 6% of the gunshot wounds seen at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital (CRMH) in 2020, said Tanya Trevilian, Pediatric Trauma Program manager at CRMH.

And according to to Jill Lucas-Drakeford, a Carilion Clinic community health educator and coordinator for Safe Kids Southwest Virginia, child and teen gun deaths in the U.S. hit a 19-year high in 2017 and have remain elevated ever since.

Responsible gun ownership means understanding the risks of having guns in the homeincluding uninentional shootings, suicide and homicideand taking all necessary precautions to keep guns out of the hands of children.

Responsible gun ownership means...taking all necessary precautions to keep them out of the hands of children.

Store Guns and Ammunition Safely

If your home has firearms, the most important thing is to keep them in a locked location and out of the reach and sight of children.
 
“Keeping ammunition in a separate, locked location is also important,” said Jill. “Storing your firearm unloaded, with the keys or combinations hidden is the best way to keep your kids safe at home.”
 
When a gun is not in its lock box, be sure to keep it on your person; it should never be anywhere that a child can touch it if it's loaded. If someone who visits your house has a gun that is not in a locked location, provide them with a locked place to hold it while they are in your home.
 
“No matter how much you educate them, kids are still curious,” said Jill. “The safest gun is an unloaded, locked gun.”

Get a Free Gun Lock

Some law enforcement agencies as well as community and health care organizations, including Carilion Clinic, give away free cable gun locks or other safety kits. You can find free cable gun locks at several Carilion Clinic Pediatric and Family Medicine offices, as well as in the main lobby at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

Go to ProjectChildSafe.org for more about where to find a free lock.

Carilion Clinic gives away free cable gun locks at several Pediatric and Family Medicine offices and in CRMH's main lobby.

Educate Your Kids and Their Caregivers

Even if you don’t own a gun, chances are that your child will at some time or another be in a home that contains a gun—and they’ll most certainly see them in video games or on TV.
 
“Explain to your kids that the guns they see in video games or on TV are different from guns in real life,” said Jill. “And teach them never to touch a gun, even if a friend wants to show it off. They should immediately tell an adult if they see a gun, especially at school.”
 
Talk to grandparents and other caregivers about gun safety if your child frequently visits their home.

And talk with parents of friends, too, before scheduling a play date. Just as you'd ask about other safety issues before allowing your child to visit another home, ask "Is there an unlocked gun in your house?"

If the answer is yes, talk with them about keeping their guns in a locked location, and reconsider allowing your child to play there if they don't agree.

Dispose of Guns You Don’t Need

If you decide that you no longer need to have a gun in your home, dispose of it in a safe way rather than keeping it around. Your local law enforcement agency can help.
 
For more information and to download a pdf of gun safety tips, visit SafeKids Worldwide and the American Academy of Pediatrics. If you have concerns about guns in your home or the homes of your loved ones, talk to your pediatrician.

vaccine promotion banner by Carilion Clinic
CarilionClinic.org/safe | CarilionClinic.org/coronavirus | CarilionClinic.org/covid-19-vaccine
Need a primary care provider or specialist?
Use our Find a Doc tool!