Whether you’re a parent or provider, you’re an invaluable teacher in helping children know and identify gun-related dangers—and stay as safe as possible.
To prepare children for a situation in which they’re at home and they hear gunshots outside, talk about which rooms are the safest (rooms with no windows, or, if violence is related to someone in the home, rooms that have possible exits). Tell them to get low on the ground and stay there. If a safe person is around, children should tell them. They should also know who to call for help.
If there is a gun in the home, read this information from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children have natural curiosity and a drive to discover, so guns must be kept locked at all times, because children “try out” and explore new ideas through play and imitation—and 4.6 million children live in homes with access to a loaded, unlocked, or unsupervised gun; over 70% of them know where that gun is stored.
Tell children what to do if they find a gun anywhere, keeping the language simple and repeating it often:
- If you see a gun, don’t touch it. Tell a safe grown-up right away.
- You won’t get in trouble if you tell me you’ve seen a gun.