Reducing the risk of gun accidents at home involving children

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- School is wrapping up and with kids now having more free time on their hands, it can increase the risk for accidents at home - including with guns.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one third of American kids live in homes with guns. Although many adults think a gun will protect them from crime, it often turns into tragedy.

"It's up to 43 times more likely for a gun to be used in the injury of a child or relative or a neighbor, as opposed to a burglar or another type of criminal intruder," said Dr .Peter McCauley, Cigna medical executive.

Dr. McCauley says guns in the home also make teen suicide more likely.

"We know that adolescents by their nature are more impulsive and make decisions in a quick manner. And unfortunately, they're more likely to choose a more lethal means of suicide," he said.

Dr. McCauley says the first step for prevention is making sure a gun is secure.

"The gun should be stored in a locked gun safe or a lockbox. It should be unloaded when it's stored. And the ammunition should be stored in a locked box in a separate location as well," he said.

Trigger locks are also effective, and inexpensive. Also, remind your kids that if they ever come across a gun, they must stay away from it and tell you immediately.

And when you're planning for your kids to visit another home, ask: "Is there an unlocked gun in your house?"

"The same way that you would about pets ,allergies, exposure to a swimming pool," said Dr. McCauley.

To remind parents, the Academy of Pediatrics makes June 21st ASK Day, for Asking Saves Kids.

"Because that's the first day of summer, and that's when we traditionally think about children being free from school," said Dr. McCauley.
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