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7 Ways to Curb Kids' Exposure to Violence

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children playing with water guns

Think Twice About Toy Guns (and Real Guns)


The AAP advises parents to think twice before allowing their child to play with toy guns. Toy guns that fire projectiles can injure kids, typically in the face or eyes, and can pique kids' curiosity about real guns and make them seem harmless to kids. There are tons of fun non-violent toys and active play games to choose from for boys and girls.

The AAP also encourages parents to keep real firearms out of the home or safely locked away, out of sight from kids. Homicide is the second-leading cause of death among people ages 15 through 24 in the U.S. "The absence of guns from children's homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries in children and adolescents," according to an AAP policy statement. "Safe gun storage (guns unloaded and locked, ammunition locked separately) reduces children's risk of injury." The AAP also notes that teen suicide risk is strongly associated with the availability of a firearm. If your child has shown signs of depression or violent behavior, it is especially important to prevent access to firearms.

The AAP supports the ASK (Asking Save Kids) Campaign, which urges parents to ask "Is there a gun where my child plays?" About 40 percent of U.S. homes with children have guns, many left unlocked or loaded — and several hundred children are killed or seriously injured each year as a result.

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