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Counseling Parents About Guns in the Home

Van D. Westervelt, PhD; Jay A. McDonald, MD
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148(1):109-110. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1994.02170010111030.
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Firearm injury prevention counseling of parents by pediatricians is advocated by researchers and practitioners alike.1-3 One study of pediatricians in Maryland found that 74% of pediatricians believed that they had a responsibility to counsel parents regarding firearm safety, but only 30% had ever done so.2 Outlined below are four points about preventive action to discuss with parents. These points are supported by research on gunshot injuries to children and by injury prevention studies in other areas. Anticipatory guidance to parents regarding children's exposure to guns is recommended beginning in the toddler years, with a review every 2 years thereafter. Even if there are no guns kept in the home, parents need to be aware of the potential danger from firearms in the homes in which their children may be visiting.

  1. The surest way to reduce firearm injuries to children is to remove guns from environments in which


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