Talking to Children About Gun Safety
Teach kids to follow these basic rules you come into contact with a gun:
* don't touch
* remove yourself from the area
* tell an adult
It's particularly important that children leave the area where the gun is located to avoid being harmed by someone who doesn't know not to touch it. A child as young as 3 has the finger strength to pull a trigger.
It's also important for kids to tell an adult about a gun that's been found.
If You Have a Gun in Your Home
Many kids are raised with guns in the home, particularly if hunting is a part of family recreation. If you keep a gun in the home, it's important to teach your kids to act in a safe and responsible way around it with the firearm. Talk openly and honestly about firearm safety with your child. The discussion must be age-appropriate and offer children clear instructions about avoiding guns without adult supervision. Establishing rules and answering a child's questions help remove the mystery surrounding guns.
To ensure the safest environment for your family:
* Take the ammunition out of the gun.
* Lock the gun and keep it out of reach of kids.
* Lock the ammunition and store it apart from the gun.
* Store the keys for the gun and the ammunition in a different area from where you store household keys. Keep the keys out of reach of children.
* Lock up gun-cleaning supplies, which are often poisonous.
If you own a gun or have found one in your home and want to dispose of it, call 911 to voluntarily surrender the firearm to the police department.
Gun safety does not end when your child leaves your home. Kids can still come in contact with a gun at a neighbor's house, when playing with friends, or under other circumstances away from home. Discuss gun safety with other family members or the parents of friends if your child spends time in their homes. It may feel like an awkward conversation, but the person you ask will likely understand that you only have your child's safety in mind.