Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
 

Firearms Safety

Firearms Safety

The importance of firearms safety

It is estimated that 40 percent of all homes in the U.S. have some type of firearm, of which one in four is a handgun. Access to firearms in the home increases the risk of unintentional firearm-related death and injury among children. Unintentional shootings cause a significant portion of all firearm-related deaths among children ages 14 and under.

An underestimation of children's ability to gain access to a firearm in the home is a common problem. In addition, unlike adults, children are unable to distinguish between a real gun and toy guns, and children are not able to make good judgments about how to safely handle a gun.

To keep your child safe from firearms, consider whether it is worth the risk to your child to keep a firearm in your home. If you do choose to keep a firearm, safely store the firearm locked up and out of reach, and keep ammunition in a separate, locked place from the actual firearm. Also, by talking with your child about the dangers of firearms, you can teach your child to never touch or play with guns, and to tell an adult if he or she finds a gun.

What are high-risk situations with firearms?

Awareness of situations that can increase your child's risk of exposure to unintentional firearms injuries may help prevent them. High-risk situations include, but are not limited to, the following:

What is firearm safety?

Although the only sure way to keep your child safe from unintentional firearm-related injury and death in your home is to remove all firearms from the home, there are other ways to improve the safety of your child around firearms, including the following:

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