Are Household Firearms Stored Less Safely in Homes With Adolescents? Analysis of a National Random Sample of Parents

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Are Household Firearms Stored Less Safely in Homes With Adolescents? Analysis of a National Random Sample of Parents

Category: Behavior, Youth|Journal: Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (full text)|Author: D Azrael, D Hemenway, M Miller, M Vriniotis, R Johnson|Year: 2006

Objective  To examine whether firearms are more frequently stored loaded, unlocked, or both in households with adolescents only (aged 13-17 years) compared with households with younger children only (aged 0-12 years).

Design  Random-digit-dial survey on firearms (n = 2770). We computed bivariate associations between the presence of adolescents and firearm storage practices. Statistical significance was assessed using prevalence ratios with 95% confidence intervals.

Setting  United States.

Participants  Survey respondents with children (aged <18 years) who reported the presence of a household firearm.

Main Outcome Measures  Prevalence of firearms in the home stored loaded and/or unlocked.

Results  Of the 392 respondents, 22% had a loaded firearm, 32% had an unlocked firearm, and 8% had a firearm stored loaded and unlocked. Compared with households with younger children, households with adolescents only were somewhat more likely to store a firearm unlocked (42% vs 29%; prevalence ratio, 1.48; 95% confidence interval, 1.04-2.02), loaded (26% vs 20%; prevalence ratio, 1.25; 95% confidence interval, 0.82-1.91), or both (10% vs 8%; prevalence ratio, 1.43; 95% confidence interval, 0.64-3.19).

Conclusions  Parents of adolescents appear to be more likely to keep household firearms stored unsafely, especially with regard to keeping firearms unlocked. This is of concern because most youth firearm injuries happen to adolescents. Firearm injury prevention programs should directly target parents of adolescents to promote safe firearm storage.

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