The question that could save your child’s life

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CLAIREMONT, Calif. – Eight-year old Matthew Mcpherson of Clairemont has a play date about every month or so.

QUESTIONHis mother Sheri Mcpherson, said she asks a lot of questions beforehand to keep her child safe.  She said, “If there’s a pool, I want to make sure there’s always a parent watching.”

However, Mcpherson said she does not ask the other parents if they own a gun.  In fact, it’s a question many parents don’t think to ask before allowing their kids to go to other people’s homes.  Despite the fact, nearly 40 percent of American Households have guns.

Child safety experts say it is a question parents should ask; along with if the gun is kept in a secure place.

According to a 2006 study in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, about 29 percent of households with children do not lock up their guns.

Mcpherson said her family owns guns, and not only do they keep them locked, but they have also educated their two children about them.

Her eight-year old son, Matthew Mcpherson said, “My parents just tell me never to touch a gun period, because it could be loaded.”

Dr. Alejandra Postlethwaite, a child psychiatrist at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, said it is never too soon to teach kids about gun safety.

Postlethwaite said if a story about an accidental gun shooting is in the news, parents should use it as an opportunity to talk about gun safety.  And, she said, to talk about it often.  “Repetition is very important.”

Most parents believe their children are smart enough not to touch a gun, but numerous studies have proved them wrong.  That’s why Postlethwaite said it is critical that parents keep guns in a safe locked place, where children have no access to them.

Nearly 800 children under 14 in the U.S. were killed in gun accidents between 1999 and 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


  • Carl

    My 12 year old sons teacher asked the class if their parents had guns at home and he told her its none of her business. When I talked to the teacher I asked her if she had an any marital aids in her home. She wanted to get into our private life so I asked her about hers.

  • Non-ya

    This is happening now in the pediatricians office. After going over the basic questionnaire, I come to a full length page in a bright orange color asking if we keep firearms in our house followed by 15 similar questions. I handed the paperwork back to the receptionist with the bright orange paper incomplete. She asked why I did not complete the questionnaire?

    My answer: Non-ya business!

  • ellen Woodwardtaylor

    I always told my children if they were at someones house and there was a visible gun to call me and I would come and get them…it is important if the lives of your children are important, if their lives are more important then answering a few questions. Turning in an unanswered questionnaire does nothing for anyone, particularly the children who need protecting. The reason they are asking is to help you secure your weapons so your children don't become victims…

  • Bob Campbell

    The comments above deal with a sensitive issue, but they way they some responded was immature and typical of many, not all self-righteous gun owners. If most parents think their children are smart enough not to touch a gun they are incredibly misinformed. With our open culture of guns, i.e. video games, tv shows, the NRA, shooting games at midways at fairs, paintball, target shooting, hunting and the list goes on, many children are fascinated with guns, and would never think about a real gun until it was presented in front of their eyes. Now the situation becomes different. My family never owned a gun until my dad got a box of stuff from an uncle who had died. My dad never thought about it, put it on a high shelf in a shed to be forgotten. I was 10 or 11, the height of tv westerns where every man and a few women had a gun. Snooping around, I found the box. In it was a .22 pistol revolver and a box of .22 bullets. I loaded it,and went outside and pretended to fire it. The weight, the coldness and the shininess of the metal were oh so different from the toy guns we had. I never fired the gun, but what if some friends had joined me? What if? I put the gun back loaded and to this day have never seen or heard of it again. As many gun fanatics respond, guns don't kill, people do. Well they are wrong, if I had been with some friends, pulled the trigger and killed one of them, it would have been the gun that did it or more correctly the bullet. For the 75 or so children killed in accidental shootings it was the gun, the bullet that killed them. Without access to a gun most of them would still be alive.

  • Sean

    You folks in the US have such a crazy love for guns. Absolutely zero accidents in Ireland involving children and guns. Hand guns, assault riffes etc are banned. Our police are unarmed. If you are a farmer you can get a licence for a shotgun under strict conditions. That's it. Kids are safe.

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