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Household Safety: Preventing Injuries From Firearms

The best way to protect your kids from injury and death due to firearms is to keep your home free of guns and avoid households where guns are kept.

If you do own a gun, be sure that these rules are followed in your home (and, if applicable, the homes of relatives or friends that your child visits):

  • Store guns in a securely locked case out of kids' reach. All guns should be stored unloaded and in the uncocked position.
  • Store bullets in a separate place and in a securely locked container out of kids' reach.
  • Keep keys to gun storage areas where kids can't find them.
  • Always use trigger locks or other childproof devices. Make revolvers childproof by attaching a padlock so that the cylinder can't be locked into place.
  • Always practice gun safety, and be sure to emphasize to kids that guns aren't toys and should never be played with.
  • Teach kids not to touch guns and tell an adult if they find one.
  • Take a gun safety course to learn the safe and correct way to use your gun.
  • Lock up gun-cleaning supplies, which are often poisonous.

Talking to Kids About Gun Safety

Teach kids to follow these rules if they come into contact with a gun:

  • stop what they're doing
  • do not touch the gun
  • leave the area where the gun is
  • tell an adult right away

It's particularly important for kids to leave the area to avoid being harmed by someone who doesn't know not to touch the gun. A child as young as 3 years old has the finger strength to pull a trigger. It's also important for kids to tell an adult about any gun that's found.

Date reviewed: January 2018
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