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Gun Safety in Homes with Children

By Samuetta Hill Drew

To all of our readers, we hope you and your families had a safe and wonderful 2023 holiday season. As we prepare for this new year of 2024, we want to continue to keep an eye on safety by taking all types of safety precautions for ourselves, our families and our loved ones as we live our daily lives. With safety being one of our ultimate goals, 2024 will begin talking about safety for children who are an extension of us. So, as we want to be safe so should we want our children to be equally safe.

The first article will discuss gun safety at homes with children. It was so tragically sad when the news would broadcast how a young child in Birmingham was killed at home by a gun accident. Where realistically we know articles will not guarantee gun safety at homes with children, we can believe it will encourage some households to take greater safety measures.

Some readers may question why begin this new year with such a topic? The response is simple: Let’s look at America’s statistics which can reflect our own state, county and/or city.

Roughly a third of American households have guns. In fact, it is estimated that 4.6 million children live with unlocked, loaded guns. This is scary when you consider that even a young toddler has the physical and mental capability to find an unlocked loaded gun in a home and is strong enough to pull the trigger.

“If you think your kid doesn’t know you own a gun or doesn’t know where you keep it in your house, think again,” says Dr. Lois Lee, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Boston Children’s Hospital. “It’s like trying to hide holiday gifts from children — kids can figure out where they are.”

According to the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP), firearms are now the leading cause of death for U.S. children and teens under the age of 18. According to the AAP, 4,752 children died from homicides, suicides and accidental shootings.

Between 2015 and 2022, there were 2,702 unintentional shootings by children aged 17 and younger. They resulted in 1,083 deaths and 1,815 nonfatal gun injuries. And at least 895 preschoolers and toddlers managed to find a gun and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else during this timeframe.

Hopefully, these statistical facts have opened your eyes to the urgency and importance of this topic. This is why we must Keep an Eye on Gun Safety in our homes. Next week’s safety article will review safety measures which can be taken to help protect the children and adults living or visiting a family’s home.