Parents Must Ask: 'Is There an Unlocked Gun in Your House?'

Parents Must Ask: 'Is There an Unlocked Gun in Your House?'

Before your child goes to a friend's home to play, find out if there are guns in that home, a leading U.S. medical group advises.

Mental Health Does Not Come With A Manual, It Comes With Friends & Family Support That Never Gives Up!
Join now

Gun injuries are among the top three causes of death among children and teens in the United States, the American Academy of Pediatrics says.

"About one-third of families in the U.S. have guns in their homes," said Dr. Alison Tothy, a pediatric emergency medicine physician in Chicago and an AAP spokesperson.

"When guns are in the house, we need to make every effort to keep kids safe. That means locking up guns and keeping ammunition safe and separate from the guns and locked up as well," she said in an academy news release.

Gun injuries are often fatal. All are preventable, Tothy noted.

The AAP and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence have launched a campaign to help keep children safe from firearms. They've designated the first day of summer, June 21, as "ASK Day." ASK is for Asking Saves Kids.

The campaign advises asking if there are guns in a home your children haven't visited before. If the answer is yes, you should ask how the guns are stored.

If they aren't locked and unloaded, with ammunition locked up separately, you should invite the other child to play at your home instead.

"If there are unsecured guns in the house, you can't assume your child won't find them or won't touch them," AAP President Dr. Colleen Kraft said.

"Young children are naturally curious and are often unable to remember or follow safety rules. Adolescents can be impulsive," Kraft said.

"When these characteristics are combined with access to firearms, the consequences can be tragic and permanent. Asking this simple question -- is there an unsecured gun in your home? -- is an important step every parent can take to help their kids stay safe," she added.

Every day in the United States, there are 12 gun-related deaths and nearly 67 gun-related injuries among young people under age 21, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A 2004 survey suggested that guns were in 38 percent of American homes and that nearly 1.7 million children live in a home with a loaded, unlocked gun.

The Internet's Most Trusted Source For Mental Health Information
Sign up

If guns and ammunition are properly stored, the risk of injury or death is reduced by up to 85 percent, the academy noted.

Having a gun in the home also increases the risk of teen suicide. That's true even if there's no mental illness, but it's especially critical that the homes of teens with depression are gun-free, the AAP said.

More information

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has more on the risks of having guns in the home.


Related Content

Have You Heard About The Mediterranean Diet & Its Benefits For Depression?
Have You Heard About The Mediterranean Diet & Its Benefits For Depression?

Eating a Mediterranean diet may help prevent depression, research suggests. But ...

Read more
Researchers Want Doctors To Be Able To Prescribe Magic Mushrooms For Depression
Researchers Want Doctors To Be Able To Prescribe Magic Mushrooms For Depression

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University think it’s time to change the drug class...

Read more
Ease Your Depression Symptoms With These 5 Lifestyle Changes
Ease Your Depression Symptoms With These 5 Lifestyle Changes

If you’ve ever struggled with depression, you know how debilitating it can be. I...

Read more
Depression Is a Complex Illness - This Is Why It's Not Just a Matter of "Willpower"
Depression Is a Complex Illness - This Is Why It's Not Just a Matter of "Willpower"

As a psychiatrist who has grappled with it both professionally and personally, I...

Read more
How Cold Water Swimming Is Showing Significant Benefits To Treating Depression
How Cold Water Swimming Is Showing Significant Benefits To Treating Depression

Jumping into the sea in winter is the most alive and present I ever feel. I get ...

Read more
When Postpartum Depression Doesn't Go Away
When Postpartum Depression Doesn't Go Away

After giving birth to her first child, Chelsea Reiswig, like many new mothers, s...

Read more