It might feel awkward, but talking to your child about guns and gun safety is important. Seifer advises that children will be far less curious about guns and more likely to follow safety rules by removing the mystery surrounding guns.
There are some basic principles to keep in mind when talking to kids about guns and gun safety. Here’s what they should remember if they happen upon a firearm:
- STOP: This first step is crucial. Stopping allows the child the time they need to remember the rest of the safety instructions.
- Don’t touch: A firearm that is not touched or disturbed won’t be fired and endanger your child or other people.
- Run away: This removes the temptation to touch the firearm. It also reduces risk of another person accidentally shoot them.
- Tell a grown-up: Children should seek a trustworthy adult, neighbor, relative, or teacher if a parent or guardian is unavailable.
Additionally, ensure children understand the difference between a toy gun and a real gun and between "pretend" and real life. Better yet, teach them to stay away from all guns, whether they look real or not.
Some pistols and other types of firearms have designs or paint jobs that can make them look like toys. And even some toys, like air rifles, paintball guns, BB guns, and pellet guns, can cause serious injury if a child isn’t properly supervised.