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How to Keep Your Child Safe with Guns in the Home

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By Samuetta Hill Drew

Last week’s safety article may have been an eye opener to some that discovered the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) reports that firearms is now the leading cause of death for U.S. children and teens under the age of 18.

Unintentional shootings happen to children of all ages. In homes with guns, the likelihood of accidental death by shooting is four times higher.

Suicide risks are higher with firearms in the home. Suicide for children and teens is four times higher for those in homes with a gun than those who live in a home without a gun.

Studies have shown that children are naturally inquisitive (some colloquial language call it “nosey”). This curiosity even applies to firearms they’ve been told not to touch. The safest way is not to have a firearm in the house, but for those who do, let’s review some serious safety measures that should be practiced.

Talk with your child about the dangers of guns. Emphasize to them that guns can potentially kill or seriously injure another person or themselves. It should be included in your talks about other safety matters. They should understand and respect the dangers of guns. They need to also understand there are definite safety rules gun owners should be always followed. They should further understand they should not handle a firearm without an adult present.

Talking about gun safety is just the first step and not nearly enough. As a gun owner you should always store your gun and ammunition separately. The gun should be kept unloaded when storing it.

A safe or lock box is good for handguns where locked gun safes are good for rifles. A gun trigger lock is inexpensive and effective. A lock box is good for ammunition.

A study has shown that households that safely store their unloaded firearms and ammunition in separate locations had an 85 percent lower risk of unintentional firearms injuries among children and teens, compared to those who did not lock either.

Another safety tool to consider is a biometric gun safe. They tend to be pricier than traditional safes, but they are far more secure. Unlike a key safe or combination safe, which can be opened by anyone who knows the combination or has the key, biometric safes can only be accessed with biometrics, such as your fingerprints or eye scans, by the authorized user.

Practicing gun safety in your home is essential to help you Keep an Eye on Safety for you, your family, loved ones and visitors.