Kids are home and curious — make sure your guns are safe

Kids are home all the time these days, increasing the risk of accidental shootings.

Children are naturally curious, and boredom could increase their chances of stumbling upon something dangerous.

“I am concerned given all these factors that we’re going to see more children injured accidentally by guns,” said Kerry S. Caperell, M.D., a pediatric emergency medicine physician with Norton Children’s Emergency Medicine, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine.

Gunshot wounds are the second leading cause of death in children over the age of 1, causing more deaths than cancer. What’s even more heartbreaking is that these deaths are 100% preventable. So far this year, Norton Children’s Hospital has treated 10 children for gunshot wounds.

“These are unprecedented times. We’re not going outside; we’re not congregating together, and everyone is canceling plans. We all have time. Please spend some time today thinking about what things you can do, in your home, to keep your kids safe,” Dr. Caperell said.

Safe Kids Worldwide offers tips on how to keep children safe around guns

Safe gun storage

  • Store guns in a locked location, unloaded, out of reach and sight of children. Night stands, bedroom closets or a glass gun case aren’t secure enough. Kids are curious and tend to explore.
  • Store ammunition in a separate locked location, out of reach and sight of children.
  • Keep the keys and combinations hidden.
  • When a gun is not in its lock box, keep it in your line of sight.
  • Make sure all guns have child-resistant gun locks.
  • If a visitor has a gun in a backpack, briefcase, handbag or unlocked car, provide a locked place to store it while the visitor in your home.

Accident prevention

  • Explain to kids that guns on television or video games are different from a gun in real life. A real-life gun really can hurt or kill people.
  • Teach children what to do if they find a firearm and there are no responsible adults around. It’s simple: Leave. Tell the child to find an adult and make them aware of the situation, and if they don’t seem to share your child’s concern, go back to that first piece of advice: Leave.
  • Talk to family members your children visit about safe storage practices for guns.

Finally, if you decide you no longer need a gun in your home, check with local law enforcement agencies on how to get rid of it safely.



Norton Children’s Hospital

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Norton Children's Medical Center

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