By: Christopher Rogers, MD
It is one of my favorite times of the year. Weather is cooling down, football is always on the TV, and the leaves are changing. Living in the south also means another thing as well, hunting season is upon us. Lots of families take part in hunting this time of the year, so I want to briefly go over a few firearm safety tips as well as national data in regards to firearm-related injury.
Every year thousands of children suffer from intentional or accidental injuries related to firearms. Every day in the United States approximately 78 children suffer from firearm-related injuries. Firearm-related deaths have consistently been one of the top four leading causes of death in individuals under the age of 21. Specifically, homicide by firearm and suicide are the second and third leading cause of death of children between the ages of 15-19. Research has shown that there is a 4-10 times higher completion rate of suicide if there are guns in the home of adolescents. It has also been shown that parents underestimate their children’s knowledge of where guns are located in the home. Additionally, children as young as 3 may be strong enough to pull the trigger of a handgun.
The AAP recommends that if there are going to be guns in the home then the safest way for them to be stored is unloaded and locked up with the ammunition stored separately. Studies have shown that trigger locks also have added safety benefit when used in addition to keeping guns locked. There are also strong recommendations of removing guns from the home of individuals considered to be high risk for suicide. Most importantly is that children should always be supervised at all times when around guns and the safety mechanism be on at all times.
So, with fall and hunting season upon us, please be sure to follow these safety guidelines in order to help prevent firearm injuries.