Nearly 1,300 children in the United States die because of firearm-related injury each year and another 5,790 survive gunshot wounds, making the prevention of firearm-related unintentional injury to children of vital importance to families, health professionals, and policy makers.
To systematically review the evidence on school-based and community-based gun safety programs for children aged 3 to 18 years. Study Design. Systematic review.
Twelve databases were searched from their earliest records to December 2016. Interventional and analytic studies were sought, including randomized controlled trials, quasi-experimental studies, as well as before-and-after studies or cohort studies with or without a control that involved an intervention. The low level of evidence, heterogeneity of studies, and lack of consistent outcome measures precluded a pooled estimate of results. A best evidence synthesis was performed.
Results support the premise that programs using either knowledge-based or active learning strategies or a combination of these may be insufficient for teaching gun safety skills to children.
Gun safety programs do not improve the likelihood that children will not handle firearms in an unsupervised situation. Stronger research designs with larger samples are needed to determine the most effective way to transfer the use of the gun safety skills outside the training session and enable stronger conclusions to be drawn.