It is estimated that about 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 of unintentional firearm-related death and injury among children. Unintentional shootings cause more than 20 percent of all firearm-related deaths in children 14 and under. the highest rate o unintentional firearm-related deaths is in children 10-14 years of age. Most unintentional shootings occur among children left unsupervised at home.
An underestimation of a 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 real and toy guns, and children are not able to make good judgements about how to safely handle a gun.
Firearms are often portrayed on television and in movies as glamorous. In addition, the consequence of firing a firearm may not be viewed as seriously in the media, because children often see the "shot" actors alive in other movies. Toy guns may add to a child's perception that real guns, like toy guns, are harmless and fun. It is important that your child knows the difference between a real gun and a toy gun. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents not to have guns in the home.
Although the only sure way to keep your child safe from unintentional firearm-related injury and death in your home is to remove all firearms from the home, there are other ways to improve the safety of your child around firearms.
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