According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, almost 38% of American households own a firearm, and if your gun isn’t properly stored in a gun safe, this increases the risk child and teen accidental deaths.
In addition, the National Safe Kids Campaign stated that the majority of accidental home shooting occurred in children 10 to 14 years old. In order to avoid that, it is imperative that you teach your children proper gun safety and keep your guns in secure gun safes.
Teaching Your Children Gun Safety
Teaching your children about gun safety should be as important as teaching them about stranger danger or storm prevention, as it could save their life. Explain to your children that guns are dangerous and can hurt or kill people. Most likely, they will have seen guns on television or in video games and explain that those are pretend guns, but a real gun could permanently harm someone.
Reiterate to your children that they must never touch a gun. This is very important because often young children are especially curious, they may not mean to touch the trigger but they will. If you express how important it is never to touch any gun because they won’t know if it’s loaded or not, you could be saving their life.
Teach your children that if they ever see a gun, they should immediately leave the area. If they are playing at a friend’s house, tell them to inform the parent or adult in charge immediately, as well as yourselves once they return home. Then, you can take action so they can secure all firearms in gun safes correctly, as well as deciding if that’s a safe place to visit.
Differentiating Between Fantasy and Reality
While it may be tempting sometimes to make everything a gun-free zone, it isn’t realistic. Children see guns in the media, and they like to play with guns, from creating them with blocks to using plastic toy guns. They use their imaginations as they play policeman or pretend to be on a space ship fighting the bad guys.
While encouraging a healthy imagination is important, it’s imperative, that children understand the difference between pretend and real guns, and sometimes that concept is difficult for them to grasp. Teach them that all types of real guns, including fire arms, BB guns, and air guns should not be touched or handled by them.
Proper Storage in Gun Safes
The best way to keep guns out of reach from your children is to keep them secure in gun safes. First, always unload your gun after using it, and store the ammunition in a separate locked safe. Then, your gun in a gun safe. You have a variety of choices, such as a keyed one, but make sure to store the keys where your children won’t find them. In addition, companies also offer gun safes with combination key pads, where you must enter the correct combination to unlock it, and it’s enforced by a key override.
Ultimately, remember to store the gun safe and locked ammunition where children won’t find, remembering that children are curious and like to examine almost everything. Therefore, make sure you’ve done your part about teaching them about gun safety.