Although children getting into and playing with guns is news in the South, it is also an important issue in the Midwest. The Missouri Department of Social Services reported that in 2007, six Missouri children died as a result of a firearm accident. The majority of victims from these accidental deaths are young boys whose parents' keep firearms within the home. Nationwide, about 500 children die every year as a result of an accidental shooting.
It is crucial to educate your child on how to handle a situation where a gun is present. You should sit your child down and explain to them the difference between the television and video game shootings that they may be exposed to and the reality of firearm deaths. Children who are made aware of what guns are and allowed to ask questions about them, and who understand the fatal effects of firearms feel more comfortable when placed in situations where a firearm is present, and as a direct result, they will be less likely to develop a dangerous curiousity towards firearms. Also, if guns are present in the home, it is very important to keep them unloaded, locked away, and out of children's reach.
Most accidents occur at home, but it is also important to be aware that other parents may own guns. If your child is going to a friend's house, you should make it a point to talk to the other parent about their firearm situation and what they are going to do to protect your child. Don't let your child be the victim of a preventable accidental shooting!
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