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