The relationship between parents’ reported storage of firearms and their children’s perceived access to firearms: a safety disconnect

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The relationship between parents’ reported storage of firearms and their children’s perceived access to firearms: a safety disconnect

Category: Youth|Journal: Clinical Pediatrics (full text)|Author: C Morris, H Simon, J Figueroa, K Doh, M Agarwal, S Chaudhary, S Lazarus, T Akbar|Year: 2021

Locked-up and unloaded firearm storage is a tenet of injury prevention campaigns to decrease children’s access to firearms. This study cohort describes the reported presence of, storage mechanisms for, and children’s perceived access to firearms. Parent-child dyads (n = 297) were recruited from pediatric emergency departments in Atlanta, GA. Gun owners were 25% of cohort; 53% reported storing some firearms insecurely. Gun owners were more likely to believe their child could access a firearm versus non–gun owners (11% vs 3%). Children of gun owners versus non-gun owners indicated increased ability to acquire a gun (14% vs 4%). Fifty-nine percent of children could not identify a real versus toy gun in a picture. This study highlights a plurality of parents storing firearms insecurely with a significant portion of children reporting gun access and demonstrating inability to recognize actual guns. This disconnect points to the importance of public health interventions to decrease access to firearms in this vulnerable population.

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