As a parent, you know the need to keep your child safe from harm. Part of keeping your children protected may include keeping a gun in the house to guard your family from home invaders. By choosing to keep a gun in the home, you adopt certain responsibilities to prevent accidental injuries.
While you may have purchased your gun to protect for intruders, the one who may end up dying could be a member of your family instead. A recent study showed that gun-related injuries are now the third leading cause of death for children, signaling a major issue with kids gaining access to firearms.
Knowing this, what can you do to keep your child safe from guns in your home? Let’s go over some basic gun safety rules to implement in your house.
What rules should I teach my children?
When it comes to gun safety for kids, there are some hard and fast rules, but there are many recommendations and suggestions too. The gun safety tips provided are by no mean exhaustive and may depend on your personal parenting style.
Teach that guns are not a toy
There is a good chance that the first time your child sees a gun will be on television or a movie. This can be dangerous, as children may pick up ideas about guns that aren’t realistic. For instance, if they see a cartoon where someone gets shot, they might think it’s normal when the animated character springs right back up with no injuries.
As a parent, it’s necessary to teach children early on that these depictions are not correct. Children are curious by nature and, if they assume guns are not dangerous, it can be easy for them to pick up a gun thinking nothing bad could happen. They need to understand that guns are not a toy and should only be handled by you.
Make a plan for gun encounters
If your child does encounter a gun, do they know what to do? Sit your child down early on to discuss the proper procedure for handling a gun they find. Teach them that, first, they should never touch a gun they find anywhere. No matter whether it’s at your home or on a playground, no gun is safe for them to touch. They should immediately tell the nearest trusted adult, like a parent or teacher and let them handle the situation.
Some suggest removing the mystery around guns early on, preventing a child’s curiosity from becoming dangerous. Let them see you handle the gun and show them what each part of the gun does. If a child treats a gun like a secret toy they’re not allowed to see, they’ll be all the more likely to touch one they encounter.
Never leave a gun unattended
As mentioned earlier, kids will get their hands on anything they can. As long as your gun is out of your case or hand, it should be immediately in your sight. An unattended gun is an invitation for someone to grab it and potentially hurt themselves.
In the event that you do leave a gun laying out, never leave the gun loaded. While basic safety teaches to treat all guns as if they are loaded, children may not necessarily abide by these rules. By one year of age, children have the ability to exert seven pounds of force, which is enough to fire a gun.
Keep your guns locked away
The best way to keep your guns safe is to keep them locked away. One medical study found that locking a gun was associated with a 73% reduction in injury risk to those living in the home. If it helps to keep your peace of mind, you can consider storing your ammunition in a separate locked location, though this can cause safety problems should an emergency arise and you need your gun very quickly.
Purchasing a gun safe or a piece of concealment furniture is an easy way to keep children out of your firearms while still allowing you quick access. Be sure to choose locks that your children will not be able to get into and hide your combinations and keys just to be safe. With one study reporting that 85% of parents were not practicing safe gun storage, it’s up to you to store your guns properly and create a safe home.
Are you looking for a better way to keep your guns away from your children without sacrificing quick access?
Contact Down Home Crafts. We can help you find a piece of concealment furniture that is perfect for the needs of your home.