Fort Worth, TX,
12:42 PM

Aim For Safety: CDC Releases New Study Emphasizing the Importance of Safe Storage

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study that says children involved in unintentional fatal shootings most commonly found the gun in a bedroom.

The report, which uses data that covers approximately 20 years of unintentional gun deaths among kids, identified 1,262 firearm injury deaths among children under 18. The report serves as a reminder about the importance of keeping guns locked up and away from children.

The CDC’s study revealed:

  • The majority of the firearms used to inflict unintentional injuries were frequently stored unlocked (76%), and most of those unlocked guns were loaded (91%).
  • In 30% of the deaths, most common places guns were found were inside or on top of a nightstand, under a mattress or bed pillow, or on top of a bed.
  • Firearms were also found on top of a shelf or inside a closet (18.6%) and inside a vehicle (12.5%).
  • Sixty-seven percent of unintentional gun injury deaths among kids occurred when the shooter was playing with or showing the firearm to another person (66.6%). Aim For Safety

Dan Guzman, M.D., pediatric emergency medicine physician and medical director of the Aim for Safety Program, says the CDC’s findings reflect the data at Cook Children’s.

“Unfortunately, we see this tragedy many times a year in our ED at Cook Children’s, which has long-lasting effects on families and staff,” Dr. Guzman said. “These types of incidents are preventable.”

Gun awareness and gun safety is a passion for Dr. Guzman. He initiated Aim for Safety in 2017 after seeing too many children treated for accidental gun-related injuries at the medical center. He asks gun owners to take action and store their firearms properly and to take personal responsibility for children’s safety.

“It is important for firearm owners to know how much risk they put their families by having an unsecured firearm,” he said. “It is our responsibility as gun owners to secure our weapons from children and unauthorized users.”

Dr. Guzman says children are curious and do not understand the repercussions of picking up a loaded firearm and pulling the trigger. Storing a loaded firearm under the mattress, in a bedside table or a closet places your family at risk. The most secure place for your firearm is in a safe with the ammunition stored separately. If you are unable to purchase a gun safe, then separating the ammunition from the firearm and using a cable or trigger lock will help reduce the risk of unintentional injury to your child.

“If your kids can walk, they can find themselves in all kinds of scary predicaments in the home,” Dr. Guzman said. “So let’s do what we can as parents and responsible firearm owners and lock up those guns!”

Aim for Safety

Cook Children's Aim for Safety initiative is designed to help reduce the number injuries we see every year among children through gun safety education. This is not about whether guns are right or wrong. It's about taking the necessary steps to protect our children.

Help your kids learn and follow the 3-step rules:

1. Safe Storage. Parents and caretakers should always ensure safe storage in your own home and the homes you visit. Store firearms unloaded and in locked locations, out of reach of children.

  • Use trigger locks and gun boxes.
  • Secure ammunition separately.
  • Hide gun safe and trigger lock keys.
  • Keep unlocked guns in your possession.
  • Make sure all guns are equipped with effective, child-resistant gun locks.
  • If a visitor has a gun in a backpack, briefcase, handbag, or unlocked car, provide them with a locked place to keep it when in your home. Aim For Safety

2. Safe Children.

If your child sees a real gun or sees someone aiming a toy gun at others, teach them to:

  • Stop.
  • Don't touch.
  • Run away.
  • Tell a grown up.

3. Safe Play.

  • When non-powder guns are in use, there are a few things to remember to help prevent injury:
    • Never aim BB guns or pellet guns at another person
    • When using a paint ball gun, gel bead gun, water bead gun, or soft foam gun, players should be properly attired and wear safety glasses at all times.
  • Ask the parents of your child's friends if they have guns in their homes and how they are being stored.
  • If you are asked about your guns, don't be offended.
  • Aim for Safety is for advocating gun safety and gun safety only.
  • This information is to aid gun owners in protecting not only their own children but also those that enter their home.

Aim for safety. 

When the holiday unwrapping is done, make sure safe handling has begun! Non-powder guns are a popular gift item. To kids, and even adults, they may look like toys, but they should be handled like guns. BB guns, paint balls guns, gel and water bead guns, etc., that are thought of as toys can still be dangerous. These items should have parental supervision to ensure the toys are used safely and that children are not showing signs of aggression or worrisome behavior. 

Safe storage. Safe children. Safe play. When we have firearms in our homes, we must take certain steps to protect our children from unintentional shootings. Cook Children's Aim for Safety® initiative is designed to help reduce the number of injuries we see every year among children through gun safety education. This is not about whether guns are right or wrong. It's about taking the necessary steps to protect our children.