Preventing Accidental Injury.
KDHE Office of Communications
Topeka, Kan. -- While thoughts of summer often lead to playing in the pool or riding a bike, unintentional firearm injuries to children occur most frequently during the months of June to August and during the holiday season (November to December).
June 21 is National ASK Day, run by the Asking Saves Kids campaign. Safe Kids Kansas joins ASK and other gun safety advocates in urging parents to ask whether there are firearms in the homes where their children play.
Approximately two out of five United States households with children have a gun, and many of those guns are left unlocked or loaded. Each year, in the United States, approximately 68 children ages 14 and under are killed by an unintentional gun shooting and more than 880 go to the emergency room with injuries from gun-related accidents. In 2006, there were more than 8,400 non-fatal injuries to children involving BB guns and pellet guns.
“More than half of the parents surveyed who own guns, and have children ages four to twelve, said they keep a loaded or unlocked gun in the home,” says Cherie Sage, State Director for Safe Kids Kansas. “Kids should never have access to guns, period. It’s too unpredictable and dangerous.”
According to a 2006 survey commissioned by the ASK campaign, 97 percent of parents who owned a gun said they would not feel uncomfortable if asked about the presence of a gun in their home by another parent. “Parents should talk to the adults in any homes where their children visit. Make it a priority to ask whether there’s a gun in the home and whether it is locked up where children can’t get to it,” says Sage.
Safe gun storage means:
Safe Kids Kansas is strictly focused on the prevention of unintentional injury. With that in mind, “parents should seriously weigh the risks of keeping a gun in the home,” says Sage. “Nearly all childhood unintentional shooting deaths occur in or near the home.”
Also, says Sage, “Teach kids not to touch a gun and to tell an adult if they find one. Most kids cannot tell the difference between a real handgun and a realistic-looking toy.”
For more information, call 785-296-1223 or visit www.usa.safekids.org.
Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of over 70 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters cover Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Butler, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Geary, Harvey, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Pottawatomie, Riley, Saline, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Smith, Sumner, and Wilson counties, as well as the city of Emporia and the Metro Kansas City Area (Wyandotte county and several Missouri counties.) Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Visit us at www.safekidskansas.org and on Facebook.