Dr. Lili has produced a terrific 22-minute video that every parent needs to watch. On her excellent blog, My Pocket Pediatrician, Dr. Lili discusses gun safety while remaining apolitical and staying in her lane as a mom, a pediatrician, an emergency medicine/trauma specialist, and a public health expert.
At the start, Dr. Lili counts a few reasons why this video is so important to watch, whether there is a gun in the home or not:
- There are more guns (393,000,000) than people (320,000,000) in the United States.
- 43% of households in the U.S. have at least one firearm; 33% of households with children have at least one firearm.
- At some point in their lives, a child will most likely encounter a gun.
- There are concrete things parents can do to keep their children safe when they encounter a firearm.
We’ve looked at some of the available statistics of youth gun violence before on The PediaBlog, including yesterday. After sharing some of the staggering numbers on firearm-related homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings, and explaining how federal funding for firearms research has been suppressed by Congress for more than two decades, Dr. Lili tells us there aren’t a lot of resources for parents to find information about effective prevention strategies to avoid injuries and deaths from firearms. She carefully goes over the anatomy of a handgun, which she says are responsible for the majority of firearm deaths in the U.S. She tells us that most children know where their parents keep their guns:
- More than 75% of first and second graders know where the guns are stored.
- 36% of those kids admitted handling those guns while all their parents said they hadn’t.
- One out of three of handguns in the U.S. households are loaded and unlocked in a safe.
- 1.7 million children in the U.S. live in a home with an unlocked, loaded gun.
And she recites the four cardinal rules of gun safety for anyone who handles a gun that she learned in her firearm safety class:
- Treat every weapon as if it is loaded.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
- Don’t point a gun at anything you are not ready to destroy.
- Know what your target is and what lies beyond that target.
Dr. Lili wants parents to ASK parents whose home their kids are visiting this question: “Is your home a gun-safe home? Meaning, if you do have guns in the home, they are stored safely and inaccessible to children?” Dr. Lili says asking the question in those words protects privacy and has very little chance of being interpreted negatively by another parent.
Pediatricians should be asking parents about gun safety in the home at every well checkup and be prepared to offer anticipatory guidance for parents who need it. Encouraging parents to ask each other “Is your home a gun-safe home?” is a good place to start.
Please take a few minutes and watch this very important video from Dr. Lili on her blog My Pocket Pediatrician here. Watch Dr. Lili’s other wonderful videos on her YouTube channel here, and follow the blogs of many other pediatricians from around the country at We Are Pediatricians on Facebook!