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View Diary: Guns, kids and playdates (72 comments)

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    Midwest is best, chimene

    Handing them a checklist would be really odd, and might make people wonder if they need you in their life, and then whatever it is you forgot to put on your checklist is what would get you.     You could just lock your kids in the basement, and then your only concerns are...   a gas explosion, a murderous home invader, carbon monoxide, electrocution, the building collapsing, a deadly fall (on the top of the list of child dangers), injuries playing with other children (also on the top of list of child dangers), scalding/burns (also on the top of the list of child dangers)....   Or, you could do what other parents do and, respect the other parents, and assume they know how to raise kids just as well as you do, and just touch on your top concerns.    

    At some point, as a parent, you recognize that life is inherently dangerous.   You focus on training your children to recognize and respond to the most important dangers, you make some effort to assess the environment and remove some of the worst dangers in the environment, you get to know the people your kids are hanging out with in general, you talk to parents about a few obvious concerns, knowing that you can never touch on them all, and after that, whatever doesn't kill you is a "teachable moment".

    If guns are your biggest phobia, then do go ahead and make that one of the few concerns that you discuss with other parents.   You might ask yourself, "Is it rational that this is my biggest concern?", though, by checking the  statistics on child deaths, to see what are really the biggest killers of children.     It is a valid concern, of course, but is it rational to place the emphasis on it that you are placing on it, if, in reality, there are other concerns that are more likely to cause a child death?  

    Here is a chart that demonstrates the top causes of accidental death.   It's interesting that "unintentional firearm" is not listed in the top three or four for children under ten.   What is listed, is intentional homicide (someone meant to aim and shoot the child, and was probably an older person), and that falls below the top concerns, which are unintentional falls, poisoning, natural disasters, and being struck (a hard blow to the chest can stop the heart).

    The unintentional deaths by firearm becomes the main concern at about age ten.   At that age, children can be your allies in keeping them safe.   So, to avoid this risk, the important thing to do is teach your children gun safety, which starts with don't pick up a gun and if someone else picks up a gun, tell them to put it down, get something very dense between you and the gun, and/or get out of there.  

    Another great way to keep your kids safe, is to get a gun and go out with your child and shoot one, at least one time.   Guns are loud and the brain has a wonderful habit of storing away information on loud and startling noises, and making a note to not do that again.   I truly believe that children who have heard a gun fired, and realize what a loud and shocking experience it is, are more careful when they encounter a gun.   They begin to treat it more like a snake that will bite them.

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