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8/16/21blog post

All firearms, even BB and airsoft guns, pose a serious risk to kids. 

You may have seen on the news that firearm deaths are happening frequently across our region.  The Dayton Daily News reported that two children have already died due to firearm injuries in August.  There were 18 children with firearm injuries that came to Dayton Children’s emergency department from March 1, 2021 to August 13, 2021.  Six of those 18 injuries were accidentally self-inflicted.

“While most news articles focus on children that die from firearm injuries, there are many near-misses and non-fatal firearm related injuries,’ says Lisa Schwing, trauma program coordinator at Dayton Children’s. “These kids are given a second chance. Can we learn anything from these incidents?”

All firearms, even BB and airsoft guns, pose a serious risk to kids. 

Have you ever asked your child if there is a firearm in your house or where it is stored?  Have you ever asked other parents about how their firearms are stored? You might be surprised by the answers to these questions. 

6 ways you can keep kids safe around firearms:

  1. Store all firearms locked and unloaded.
  2. When a firearm is not in a lock box, always keep it in your line of sight
  3. Never leave firearms on a nightstand, table, or other place where a child can gain access. This may lead to injuries and fatalities.
  4. Talk to grandparents and the parents of friends your children visit about safe firearm storage practices.
  5. Teach kids never to touch a firearm and to immediately tell an adult if they see one.
  6. Talk with older children about firearm safety and the dangers they pose.

What about firearm injuries and deaths that are intentional?  According to the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of pediatrics:

  • Adolescent suicide has increased 58% in the past 10 years
  • The teen brain is still developing, which can lead to emotional situations that override their still-developing impulse control
  • Teens can engage in risky behaviors and react to seemingly small stressors

Talking to kids about their emotions can be tough.  The On Our Sleeves movement has some helpful tools for parents and caregivers to start these difficult conversations.  The mission of On Our Sleeves is to provide every community in America access to free, evidence-informed educational resources necessary for breaking stigmas about child mental health and educating families and advocates. For more information, visit www.childrensdayton.org/onoursleeves.