National ASK Day was Yesterday…Commit to ASKING every day. Protect our Kids.
Yesterday, June 21, was National Ask Day (Asking Saves Kids). It was a day to remind parents the importance of asking parents of playmates of your child if there are guns in their home. A difficult question to ask, I know, but parenting is not always easy.
The facts are that 1 in 3 homes with children have guns, and many are not stored safely. 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) 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. If there are guns, and they are not stored safely, the play date moves to your home.
- 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 in a moment, a beautiful child could be a lost forever with an accidental shooting…but we can prevent many of these tragic accidents. 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 or parents who had been 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?”
Share your strategies for asking this question…..let’s support other parents asking this question…Just ASK, our kids are worth it.
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.