Plenty of local children have concerns about their safety following the recent mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. When talking to kids about their safety and guns, know that it’s important to be open to their questions and to empathize with their feelings, experts say. While the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that the safest home for children and teens is one without guns, it’s also true that 51.4% of Tennesseans have guns. That makes it an excellent time to review gun safety with your kis and extended family for your children’s sake. Here are tips from Safe Kids Worldwide:
Firearm SAFETY WITH CHILDREN AROUND
• Store guns in a locked location, unloaded, out of the reach and sight of children.
• Store ammunition separately, out of the reach and sight of children.
• Keep the keys and combinations hidden.
• When a gun is not in a lock box, keep it in your line of sight.
• Make sure all guns are equipped with effective, child-resistant gun locks.
• If a visitor has a firearm in a backpack, briefcase, handbag or an unlocked car, provide them with a locked place to hold it while they are in your home.
• Leaving guns on a nightstand, table or other place where a child can gain access may lead to injuries and fatalities.
TALK TO YOUR KIDS AND CAREGIVERS
• Explain how firearms your kids might see on television or a video game is different than a gun in real life. “A gun, in real life, can really hurt people.”
• Teach kids never to touch a gun and to immediately tell an adult if they see one.
• Talk to grandparents and the parents of friends your children visit about safe gun storage practices.