The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that the safest home for children is one without guns. However, if there are guns in your home, you must take important steps to keep your family safe from injury or death. Guns are the leading cause of death of U.S. children and teens according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some of this is caused by children having access to guns in their own homes resulting in accidental shootings and suicides.
Children are curious. Always assume that they will pick up a gun if they find it. With that in mind, it is very important to keep a gun stored where a child can never access it. Here are some gun safety tips:
- Make sure the gun is stored in a place children cannot get to it. It should be locked up, unloaded and out of reach or sight of children.
- Store ammunition (bullets) in a separate locked location, out of the reach and sight of children.
- Keep the keys and combinations hidden for all gun locks and locations where guns and bullets are stored.
- Never leave a gun out and unattended. Never leave a gun on a nightstand, table or other place where a child can see it.
- Make sure all guns are equipped with effective, child-resistant gun locks.
- If a visitor has a gun in a backpack, bag or an unlocked car, provide them with a locked place to hold it while they are in your home.
- Talk to your children about the difference of fake guns shown on television and the real thing.
- Teach children never to touch a gun and to immediately tell an adult if they see one.
Want to dispose of a gun?
Contact your local police department.
Want a free Project ChildSafe Safety Kit?
Visit projectchildsafe.org/safety/get-a-safety-kit/ to request a cable-style gun lock and safety instructions.