Parents with guns in their homes become less vigilant about storage as their children grow older, suggests a new study reported by the Washington Post, even though older children are at far more risk of being harmed by guns than younger children are. Firearms are present in about one-third of U.S. households. About 1.6 million children live in homes where guns are loaded and not locked up, said a 2002 phone survey.
Public education campaigns have drawn attention to the risk of leaving loaded guns within reach of very young children. The new study, led by Renee Johnson of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, suggests that more attention ought to be paid to keeping those weapons away from teenagers. Studies have shown that two-thirds of guns in suicide attempts and unintentional injuries among children and adolescents were stored in the victim’s home. The Johnson report is in the August issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.