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How to talk to young children about gun safety

Published On: Apr 30 2014 12:52:27 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 30 2014 06:37:21 PM CDT
WICHITA, Kan. -

Gun safety has long been a hot topic across the U.S. for years, but it can still be a daunting topic for parents to bring up around their young children. How young it too young? How can I make them understand?

Child Psychologist Dr. Rebecca Isaacs said it's almost never to early to bring up the topic of gun safety around children, especially if parents keep guns in the home. Some say adults can begin talking to them about it as early as two years old, but because they are children, it's important to use the right language.

"Most young children don't understand if you talk to them about death or dying, they don't really understand the concept," Dr. Isaacs said. "Especially with television today because the characters come back to life. Most kids will understand getting hurt. A two-year-old will fall on the ground and they will cry. So, if they use that as a way to explain it to the child then they may have a better understanding of what a gun can do."

It's important to make it clear to the child that guns are not toys and they should not touch them at all. But, parents shouldn't just talk to them about gun safety in their own home because that may not be the only place they encounter a weapon.

"It's very important to talk about guns in other people's houses," added Isaacs. "Because a lot of times they'll go over to friend's houses and guns won't be locked up or they'll be in a drawer and a child will want to show another child. That's very common and that can end up with someone being dead."

Dr. Isaacs said it's okay for parents to tell kids if they have guns in the home, but just keep them locked up or hidden from the children. If adults do keep guns or take children hunting with them, it's important to go through a gun safety course with the child and teach them how to appropriately handle a gun.

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