700 Children's Blog

One Question Could Save A Child's Life

Jun 22, 2015

Parents ask plenty of questions before their children visit other homes. “Do you have any cats? My daughter is allergic to cat dander.” Or “Do you have filters set up on your computer? Our son has been known to stumble onto some websites we don’t want him to see.”  “Will you be serving anything with peanut butter? My child has a peanut allergy.” There is another question that parents need to ask, one important enough that it could save a child’s life: “Is there an unlocked gun in your house?”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence feel so strongly about the question that they created a campaign to encourage parents to ask it. The campaign actually is called ASK, for Asking Saves Kids.

Consider these statistics:

  • 1 in 3 homes with children in the United States have guns.
  • 42% of parents with guns keep at least one unlocked.
  • 3 out of 4 children ages 5-14 know where firearms are kept in their homes.

I know that the question may seem awkward, but it doesn’t have to be if it is asked just like any other safety question about children. I recommend that parents try this approach: “I have a question that I ask whenever my child visits a new house. Do you have any guns in the home? If you do, are they stored unloaded and locked up? Is the ammunition locked in a separate place? My child is just so curious, and I worry about what he would do if he found a weapon.”

You may notice that’s more than one question. I think all of them are worth thinking about and should be answered. This is not about politics, and it is not a judgment of gun ownership. This is about child safety. All responsible owners of guns agree that child safety around guns is important.

Remember, Asking Saves Kids. For more information about the project and news about events, visit AskingSavesKids.org.

Featured Expert

Gary A. Smith, MD, DrPH
Center for Injury Research and Policy, Director

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700 Children’s features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.