It is natural for parents to want to protect their children from the harsh realities of the world. However, children hear about things whether we want them to or not. Although you may think that your child is better off not knowing about bad news, it was likely discussed on the school bus, the playground, or in a variety of other places and chances are, the information your child heard is at least a little bit inaccurate or exaggerated.
gun safety rules parents must teach their children
A gun kept in the home is forty-three times more likely to kill someone known to the family than to kill a stranger in self-defense.American Academy of Pediatrics (2012)
Because of the increased risks guns pose, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that homes with children do not contain guns. However, many children live in homes with a gun. Even if you do not own one, it is likely your child may visit with friends whose parents own guns or may be exposed to guns through their peers or other relatives.
Just as important as teaching your child to safely cross the street, gun safety should be part of every family’s safety conversation. This conversation could prevent a tragedy or may even save your child’s life.
prepare children of all ages by reviewing these five rules of gun safety:
- Rule #1: Guns are not toys. Explain to your child that a REAL gun is not a toy and should NEVER be played with.
- Rule #2: Guns are dangerous. Your child may have been exposed to pretend gun violence in movies, television, video games, and/or through play with other children. Talk with your children about what they see in the media and explain that it is not real. Advise them that a real gun can permanently injure or kill the person who is handling it or anyone who is nearby.
- Rule #3: Never touch a gun. Tell your child that picking up a gun, or even touching it, even if they do not intend to touch the trigger or fire it, is not OK. Children should never touch a gun, even if they believe the gun is not loaded or is safe. Most gun accidents are committed without any intent to hurt someone. Even if a friend assures them it is OK, children should know they should NEVER touch a gun.
- Rule #4: If you see a gun, leave the area immediately. Once your child understands that they are never to touch a gun, they need to know what to do if they are exposed to one. If a child sees a gun, he should get away from it and find a safe place far from the gun immediately.
- Rule #5. After you are safely away from the gun, immediately tell an adult. Once safely away from the gun, a child must immediately inform an adult about its location. If the child is at a friend’s home, he should tell the adult in charge. If there is no adult present, instruct your child to contact you or any other trusted adult immediately.
In homes with guns, the risk of suicide increases five times and the risk of homicide increases three times over the rate of homes with no guns.American Academy of Pediatrics (2012)
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We can better protect our children, particularly youngsters between the ages of one and four, by effectively childproofing our homes and the homes where our children spend time. Sadly, children between the ages of one and four are more likely to be killed by fire, burns, drowning, choking, poisoning, or falls than by any other means.
It can be stressful and a little scary for both you and your child when he goes over to a new friend's house for the first time. By setting some ground rules ahead of time, you will feel more comfortable and secure about your child's well being.