Again, tragedy from accidental shootings….how do we protect our children?
Once again tragedy is in the news in our Indianapolis area….2 children, a beautiful 16-year-old teenage girl who was celebrated as a hero two years ago when she saved two children from a lake when they slipped through the ice, and a 3-year-old boy were killed in two separate accidental incidents of gun fire in the last 48 hours. The true tragedy is that both of these children could have been saved with just a few easy steps. Even if your home is gun free, according the Center for Disease Control over 8.7 million children and adolescents have access to guns in this country, over half of the homes in the United States have guns. The American Academy of Pediatrics tells us that in fact 1 out of every 25 admissions to pediatric trauma centers are due to gunshot wounds. As parents we MUST take control….we MUST ask the hard questions of our children’s friends, our neighbors, and our own family members. I am sure that I will ruffle a few feathers regarding these comments….but if you choose to have a gun in your home…you MUST be responsible for the following safety guidelines:
- Never allow your child access to a gun without your supervision. No matter how much instruction your child has received regarding gun safety, kids are not mature enough (that includes teens as we saw this week) to handle guns without adult supervision.
- Never keep a loaded gun in your home or car. The ammunition and gun should be stored separately and locked. Your children should not have access to the keys.
- All guns should have trigger locks.
- When handling a gun for sport, everyone should learn how to operate it before loading it. The gun should NEVER be pointed at anyone, even if it is unloaded. The safety should be in place until you are ready to shoot it. Before setting the gun down, it should always be unloaded.
- Children should be taught that there may be guns in homes where they visit or play.
- Tell your children if they see a gun to stay away, and to tell you.
- Ask the hard question….if your children are playing at a home, ask if they have guns and if they do, are they locked up.
- Make sure that your children know that TV, movies, and video games are not real. Children need to be told over and over that in real life, guns kill and hurt people badly. In my opinion, children should be protected from violent video games and movies…it is difficult to understand the difference between reality and what they see in these games and movies. Children become “numb” to the violence.
The tragic truth is that these two beautiful children are lost forever…but we can prevent other families from dealing with this unthinkable tragedy. As parents we often have to ask the hard questions….do uncomfortable things. I have asked about alcohol at parties, made sure there were parents chaperoning at homes, talked about strategies to prevent my children from getting in cars with kids who were drinking….now if I had young children, I would add the difficult question of “Do you have guns in your home….and if so are they locked up?”
What are your thoughts?
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.
- Posted in: Childhood safety ♦ Parent/child communication ♦ Preventing violence ♦ Uncategorized
- Tagged: asking the difficult questions, childhood safety, gun safety, infant, parenting advice, preschooler, preventing accidental shootings, protecting our children, safety, school age, teen years, toddler, trigger locks