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Asking Saves Kids

Current Causes of Death in Children and Adolescents in the United States.
   
Julia Belkowitz, MD, MPH, Kathleen Kelly, MD, MPH, Lyse Deus, MEd, Oneith Cadiz, MD

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For the first time in history, firearm injuries were the leading cause of death among children in the United States in 2020. All types of deaths by firearms increased- suicide, homicide and unintended shootings, but the biggest rise in firearm deaths were from homicide. Guns kill more children than do car crashes, swimming pools, cancer or any infection. Guns kill more children in the United States than anything else.
It is important to know that there are things that each of us can do to help keep kids safe from gun injuries and death. Let’s Not Miss Our Moment to #EndGunViolence – YouTube
Children are safest if there are no guns in the home. If you do have guns in your home, make sure that each gun is stored safely. This can save the life of a child. Also take care to never clean your gun while your child is present. Information on safe storage of guns is available on the American Academy of Pediatrics website. Safe storage of guns is key and includes:
Even if you do not have a gun in your own home, we know that 44% of Americans report living in a home with at least one gun present and 48% of those living in a household with a gun report having a child under 18 in the household (Gallop, October 2020).  So, it is important to ask about guns in homes where your children may visit.  The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages families to ASK about firearm safety in friends’ homes. In fact, ASK Day is June 21 and stands for Asking Saves Kids.  A question as simple as, “Is there an unlocked gun in your house?” can save your child’s life.
alking about firearms can be difficult. Using phrases that focus on your concern for your children can help alleviate tension. Other phrasing to ASK about:
  • “I’m always worried about my child’s safety. What do you do with the guns in your home?”

  • “We saw a campaign online and I’ve started asking everyone, how do you store the guns in your home?”

  • For moving a child into their first apartment at college or elsewhere: “I’ve been concerned about (child’s name)’s safety since they were little, I just wanted to ASK, are there guns in the apartment? How do you store it?”
You may also decide you want to get involved in keeping our whole community safe from gun violence by serving as an advocate for firearm safety.  The American Academy of Pediatrics supports gun safety legislation to help address this important public health issue.  They believe that common sense steps, such as banning assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition can save lives.
While the effects of unintended firearm discharge can be deadly, these events can be prevented. Gun safety is important knowledge for parents who own guns, parents who do not own guns, and for anyone who wants to help keep our communities safe.
If you have concerns regarding your child’s safety, mental or physical health, reach out to your pediatrician for support. For more information about how to keep your child safe from injury from guns, call the Injury Free Coalition for Kids, a Program of the Children’s Trust, at 305-243-9080 or visit www.injuryfree.org

Resources

Current Causes of Death in Children and Adolescents in the United States. Read more
Guns in the Home: How to Keep Kids Safe. Read more
What Percentage of Americans Own Guns?. Read more
Gun Safety: Where We Stand. Read more

Events

2022 National Conference

December 2-4, Ft. Lauderdale

National Injury Prevention Day

November 18, 2022