Teach gun safety at home and away

Talk to your children about gun safety, even if you don’t own a gun. No matter how safe your family is with firearms, you can’t count on other households to be as careful.

Approximately half of all U.S. homes have guns. And, according to a study published in Pediatrics journal, nearly 1.7 million kids live in a home where firearms are kept loaded and unsecured.

Teach your kids to take these steps from the National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe program if they see a gun:
1. Stop.
2. Don’t touch the gun.
3. Leave the area.
4. Tell an adult.

Unfortunately, research shows that most kids can’t resist touching a gun, even when they know they shouldn’t. Repeat the message often and impress the importance on your kids.

Talk to other parents too. Before you allow a playdate, ask the other child’s parents if they have guns and how the guns are stored.

Toy guns and video games 
The Parents magazine gun-safety pledge recommends parents talk to children about gun safety by the time they turn three, with clear directions to never touch a gun, even if they think it’s a toy. (Child development experts differ on what age children can reliably distinguish between real and toy guns.)

As kids get older, talk to them about pretend gun play and guns in video games. Have a dialog about how deadly real guns can be.

Safe storage
If you have guns, store them safely. That means unloaded and locked, and separate from the ammunition, which also should be stored in a lockbox. Your children should not be able to find the keys.

The Matthew Bellamy Project ships free gun locks to anyone who asks. Free gun locks also may be available from your local law enforcement agency, in partnership with Project ChildSafe.