According to the CDC, about 78 children, teens and
young adults are injured and killed every day by guns
Firearm injuries are one of
the top three causes of death among children and teens. On the first day of
summer, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is urging parents to ask a
simple question before sending their children over to play: “Is there an
unlocked gun in your house?”
one-third of families in the U.S. have guns in their homes,” said Alison Tothy,
MD, FAAP a pediatric emergency medicine physician in Chicago, and an AAP
spokesperson. “When guns are in the house, we need to make every effort to keep
kids safe. That means locking up guns and keeping ammunition safe and separate
from the guns and locked up as well.”
“Gun injuries are often
fatal. 100 percent of them are preventable,” said Dr. Tothy.
The AAP has a Video News Release on gun safety for journalists, including interviews
ASK Day Campaign, led by the AAP and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence,
is held every year on the first day of summer —June 21— to help keep children
safe from guns in their community.
The ASK Day campaign urges
child is going to a home where he or she hasn’t been before, ask if there
is a gun in that home.
answer is yes, ask how the gun is stored.
are not comfortable with the answers, invite the other child to play at
your house instead.
“If there are unsecured guns
in the house, you can’t assume your child won’t find them or won’t touch them,”
said Colleen Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP, president of the AAP. “Young children are
naturally curious and are often unable to remember or follow safety rules.
Adolescents can be impulsive. When these characteristics are combined with
access to firearms, the consequences can be tragic and permanent. Asking this
simple question—is there an unsecured gun in your home—is an important step
every parent can take to help their kids stay safe.”
A study published last year
in Pediatrics showed families who were encouraged to use ASK Day
materials were more likely to ask about gun safety. Research on the importance
of gun safety is also persuasive:
day—according to a CDC database—there
are an average of 12.03 deaths of young people age 21 and younger due to
firearms and 66.58 injuries.
estimated 38 percent of American households own guns, according to a 2004
national firearms survey. Nearly 1.7 million children live in a home with
a loaded, unlocked gun. Every year thousands of kids are killed and
injured as a result.
are a highly lethal method of suicide with a mortality rate around 90
percent. Parents should keep guns locked away, so teenagers cannot get
hold of them without adult supervision.
presence of a gun in the home of an adolescent increases the risk of
suicide even in the absence of a psychiatric diagnosis, but it is
especially critical to remove guns from the homes of teens who are
safest home for a child is one that doesn’t have a gun. If there are guns
in the home, evidence shows that the risk of injury or death is greatly
reduced—by up to 85 percent—when they are stored unloaded and locked, with
the ammunition locked in a separate place.
For more information and ASK
Day resources from the AAP, including infographics, parent-friendly articles,
videos and other materials, visit the Gun Safety Campaign Toolkit. Additional resources are also available at www.askingsaveskids.org.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds