Gun violence is the leading cause of death in children in the United States of America. This sobering statistic is one that we, as a pediatric practice, cannot ignore.
Pediatrics at Newton-Wellesley stands with the American Academy of Pediatrics and their position on gun violence prevention, including the regulation of firearms and a ban on assault weapons. We believe it is best to NOT have a gun in the home. If there is a firearm in the home, we encourage you to secure it in a lockbox with no access given to children or individuals outside of the home. Better regulation and secure storage of firearms will lower the incidence of these tragic events, both accidental and intentional.
Firearm Safety Tips
- The safest home for children is one without a gun.
- If you do own a firearm, keep it locked in a secure lockbox with ammunition stored separately in another lockbox.
- Be sure to ask about any guns in the home before your child goes to another child’s house for a playdate.
- Remember that children are curious about firearms, even when they are told not to touch them.
For more information on firearm safety, please visit the American Academy of Pediatrics’ website.
Critical Warning Signs That Your Child May Be At Risk for Committing Gun Violence (from Sandy Hook Promise)
- Suddenly withdrawing from friends, family and activities (including online or via social media)
- Bullying, especially if targeted towards differences in race, religion, gender or sexual orientation
- Excessive irritability, lack of patience, or becoming angry quickly
- Experiencing chronic loneliness or social isolation
- Expressing persistent thoughts of harming themselves or someone else
- Making direct threats toward a place, another person, or themselves
- Bragging about access to guns or weapons
- Recruiting accomplices or audiences for an attack
- Directly expressing a threat as a plan
If you are in immediate danger or are worried for your safety or your child’s safety, call 911. If you have general concerns about your child’s mental health or behavior but are not worried for your/their immediate safety, call your pediatrician for guidance.
- Center for Gun Violence Prevention at Mass General Hospital
- BeSMART Campaign for Secure Gun Storage (including printable handouts)
- Everytown for Gun Safety (including current statistics, legislation, and advocacy)
As always, please know that we are here for you and your children as we navigate this public health crisis.