It is estimated that 40 percent of all homes in the U.S. have some type of firearm, of which one in four is a handgun. Access to firearms in the home increases the risk for unintentional firearm-related death and injury among children. Unintentional shootings cause 20 percent of all firearm-related deaths among children ages 14 and younger.
An underestimation of the child's ability to gain access to a firearm in the home is a common problem. In addition, unlike adults, children are unable to distinguish between a real gun and toy guns, and children are not able to make good judgments about how to safely handle a gun.
To keep your child safe from firearms, consider whether it is worth the risk to your child to keep a firearm in your home. If you do choose to keep a firearm, safely store the firearm locked up and out of reach, and keep ammunition in a separate, locked place from the actual firearm. Also, by talking with your child about the dangers of firearms, you can teach your child to never touch or play with guns, and to tell an adult when he or she finds a gun.
Many different firearm-related injuries require clinical care by a physician or other health care professional. Listed in the directory below are some considerations, for which a brief overview has been provided.
Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates
Identifying High-Risk Situations