Do you want to protect your child from being hurt or killed by a gun? The best way to protect your children from accidental shootings is to not keep firearms in your home. But if you choose to keep a gun at home, be sure it is stored safely. This means locking your gun up, unloaded, and storing it separately from ammunition. Your ammunition should also be locked up. You should also let all family members know the rules about handling guns, especially children.
Children and teens are curious. Assume that they will find the guns you keep in your home. Secure your guns. Store your guns. Lock up your guns. Gun injuries and deaths can happen to anyone, including children.
Here are 10 tips for gun safety in your home.
1. Out of sight, out of mind.
Keep guns out of reach and out of sight of children. Do this by storing them securely. Do not keep them in places such as nightstands, tables, or other places where a child can gain access.
2. Lock your firearms.
Store all guns locked, unloaded, and out of sight. Hide the key or combination. Secure guns with effective, child-resistant gun locks in a locked container. Examples of locks are cable locks, trigger locks, and lock boxes. Make sure this container is out of the reach and sight of children. They should not be in areas where children spend a lot of time like a playroom or living room.
Need a gun lock? There are many kinds of locks out there. The safest way to store a gun is to buy a gun box. However, gun boxes can be costly. There are lower-cost options available such as cable locks or trigger locks. To receive a free cable lock, check out Temple University Hospital’s Safe Bet program. It offers free cable gun locks to families who have small children and firearms. No questions asked.
3. Store alone.
Store all guns separately from their ammunition. And keep the ammunition locked and out of sight.
4. Lock up gun cleaning supplies.
Cleaning products can pose harm to you and your family. They can release dangerous chemicals or be poisonous. Steer loved ones away from toxic hazards. Put away your cleaning supplies.
5. Talk to your children.
Talking about gun safety is important to do with your children at any age.
- Small children may not know the difference between a toy guy and a real one. It’s important to talk to them about gun safety in ways they can understand.
- Safe gun storage also goes hand-in-hand with suicide prevention, especially for teens. Having open and honest conversations with your children is important to create a safe home environment.
6. Empower your children.
Teach children what to do if they encounter a gun. Tell them to:
- Always move away and stay away from the gun. They are dangerous.
- Never touch or play with a gun.
- Tell an adult immediately if they see a gun.
7. Sign the gun pledge with your child.
Have your children sign this gun pledge. It will help to reinforce the information you give them about gun safety and strengthen their commitment to it.
8. Ask when visiting another home.
Ask about the presence of any possible guns in the homes where your children go to play or hang out. We encourage caregivers to add this question to this conversation: “Is there an unlocked gun in your house?” Sure, it can be an awkward conversation to have. But it has the power to save a child’s life.
If the caregiver in the home says they have a gun, ask how and where they store it.
9. Educate your peers.
This is an important key to keeping children safe from unintentional shootings. Please educate friends, family, and neighbors about gun safety. Show them this blog, too.
10. Dispose of guns you don’t need.
The fewer guns in a home, the better. The City of Philadelphia hosts buy-back events. Check here to look for upcoming gun buy-back events.
It’s important we all take the steps to make our homes safer with proper gun safety practices. Together, we can keep our children safe and avoid tragedies. It’s a shared responsibility.
Spread the word. Share the following social media posts on Facebook or Twitter:
- Let’s keep our children safe from accidental shootings. Follow these tips to learn how to safely store firearms at home. https://bit.ly/3IlHI5V
- If you keep a gun in the home, store it unloaded, locked, and out of sight. And keep it separate from ammunition. Need a gun lock? Get a free one from @TempleHealth https://www.templesafetynet.org/safebet