Children and guns can be a dangerous combination. However, with education and safe practices, children can learn to be safe in homes where guns are kept.
Kids are curious and have a way of finding objects you don't want them to find. Hiding a gun in your closet or the drawer of your night stand can have tragic results.
Parents should keep all firearms unloaded and safely locked up in a gun cabinet. Make sure kids don't have access to the keys.
Teach kids the difference between reality and pretend. In cartoons and movies, kids may see someone who is shot get back up and keep moving. This isn't the reality of most gun injuries.
Kids also need to know the difference between toy guns and real guns. Any child who sees a gun, whether at home or at a friend or relatives' house, should be taught to assume the gun is real.
The Department of Social and Health Services in the state of Washington offers these four simple steps to teach young children what to do if they see a gun.
- Don't touch
- Leave the area
- Tell an adult
These steps should be taught to all children, especially kids in homes where there are no guns. Parents are sometimes lulled into a false sense of security if they don't own guns; however, kids who have been exposed to guns may be safer than kids in homes without guns.
Most gun-owning parents have taught their kids basic gun safety rules. In addition, most kids who grow up in families where hunting is a favorite activity have been taught the way to safely load, shoot and store guns.
Whether or not you own guns, the key to gun safety with kids is education. Teaching your kids to be safe around guns may prevent a tragic accident from changing your life forever.