Emergency Physician Urges Gun Safety after Recent Child Shooting
ER doctor begins ‘Aim for Safety’ Program at Cook Children’s
Once again a local shooting of a small child is in the news and under investigation by authorities.
NBC 5 reports that a toddler was shot in the head at a Fort Worth home last week. Police said the child’s mother and father were at the house and twin 2-year-olds were present at the time.
While few details have been released about the shooting, Dan Guzman, M.D., an emergency physician at Cook Children’s and a gun owner himself, wants to make gun safety a priority in family’s homes. According to a 2017 Pew study, 30 percent of Americans own guns. Last year, 24 children were treated for gunshot wounds at Cook Children’s.
“Unfortunately, the tragedy of children falling victim to unsecured firearms continues to happen daily,” Dr. Guzman said. “These preventable incidents, and the pain and suffering they inflict can be reduced by properly securing your firearms.”
Dr. Guzman began the new Aim for Safety program at Cook Children’s, which gives parents the real-time opportunity to see what they would do if they found a gun.
Dr. Guzman stressed that children are curious and impulsive which can be deadly when paired with a firearm. Storing a loaded firearm under the mattress, in a bedside table or in a closet is placing your family at risk, Dr. Guzman added.
The safest place for your firearm is in a safe with the ammunition stored separately. Unsecured firearms should always be in your possession. 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.
“It’s important to assess and evaluate your home injury risk and find ways to reduce the hazards in your home whether it is related to firearms, water safety, poisonings or any other safety risks,” Dr Guzman said. “Discussing with your children the importance of what to do when they encounter a firearm can help to reduce unintentional injury in your home.”
Teaching children basic firearm safety tips can save a child’s life such as:
- Don’t touch
- Run away
- Tell a grown up
In addition, when your children visit other homes ask the owners of the home – parents of your child’s friends, your children’s grandparents or other close family members – if there are guns in their homes and how they are stored. Dr. Guzman said this question is not to be insulting, but to keep your children safe around unsecured firearms.
Aim for Safety focuses on protecting children from firearms. The program can help to answer any questions about your child’s safety and help to direct you to any resources to find the appropriate storage device.
Aim for Safety will begin a new program soon to show parents what can happen when their children encounter a firearm. For more information, please visit aimforsafety.org.
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