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Safe Gun Storage

Having a gun in your home that is not stored properly can be a significant risk factor for injury and death in children. Firearm related injuries include deaths from unintentional injuries, homicide and suicide.

An even larger number of children are hurt by nonfatal gun related injuries. Although gun related injuries peak in adolescence, they can affect infants and younger children too. Younger children are most likely to be injured, either shooting themselves or a playmate, after playing with a gun that they have found in the home, not realizing that the gun is real or that it is loaded.

Proper storage of a gun includes keeping the gun in a gun safe, lock box, or a locked cabinet or drawer. The gun should also be stored unloaded with the bullets locked separately. A gun put in a shoe box on the top shelf of a closet is not considered to be a safely stored gun. Neither is a gun placed under the mattress or somewhere else where your child 'would never look for it.' Children are naturally curious and if a gun is not stored properly, there is a chance that a child may find it and injure himself or someone else.

Other steps you can take to ensure gun safety include:

  • Use a gun lock or trigger lock.
  • Make sure that your children do not have access to the keys used to lock your guns and bullets.
  • Teach your children to not handle guns without adult supervision.
  • Avoid letting your children play with realistic toy guns and nonpowder firearms, such as pellet guns, air guns, air rifles and BB guns.

Even if you don't have a gun in your own home, it is important to educate your children about firearm safety in case they discover a gun outside the home or in the homes of their friends.

They should know the 4 steps of the NRA's Eddie Eagle gun safety program, including:

  • Stop!
  • Don't Touch.
  • Leave the Area.
  • Tell an Adult.

You should also discuss gun safety with other parents or family members if your child spends time in their homes. It is not enough to assume that if they do have guns in the house, then they have them stored properly.

Many communities have gun lock/trigger lock give-away programs. In Cuyahoga County call  Safe Kids Greater Cleveland at (216) 983-1105 for more Information.

© Cuyahoga County Office of Early Childhood - Invest in Children Child Fatality Review Committee

The Child Death Review Program is funded by: Cuyahoga County, and The Child and Family Health Services Block Grant provided through the Ohio Department of Health. The Child Death Review Program is administered by: The Cuyahoga County Board of Health.