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American Academy of Pediatrics

Firearms Injury Prevention

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About 55 million Americans own firearms. Of the 265 million firearms owned in the United States, 111 million are handguns. Research shows guns in homes are a serious risk to families.

  • A gun kept in the home is far more likely to kill or injure a household member than kill or injure an intruder.

  • A gun kept in the home triples the risk of homicide.

  • The risk of suicide is 5 times more likely if a gun is kept in the home.

Advice to Parents

The best way to keep your children safe from injury or death from guns is to NEVER have a gun in the home. Children cannot be hurt by a gun if no gun is near them.

  • Do not purchase a gun, especially a handgun.

  • Remove all guns from the home.

  • Remember that young children simply do not understand how dangerous guns can be, despite parents’ warnings.

  • Find out if there are guns in the homes where your children play. If so, talk to the adults in the house about how the guns are stored. If you are not confident that the guns are stored unloaded and locked up out of sight and reach, consider having the children play at your house instead.

For Those Who Keep a Gun in the Home

  • Always keep the gun unloaded and locked up.

  • Store the bullets in a separate locked place.

  • Never share the keys or codes to open the locked boxes with your children.

Patient education handouts from TIPP—The Injury Prevention Program help pediatricians implement injury prevention counseling for parents of children newborn through 12 years of age.

The information in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

© 2020 American Academy of Pediatrics. All rights reserved.

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