Parents, what’s the #1 question to ask other parents before you let your kids go their house for a play-date or sleepover? “Do you have guns in your house – and do you keep them locked up?” That’s the takeaway from a new safety campaign called ASK – which is short for "Asking Saves Kids."
In fact, the question could save your child’s life. Because, every year, nearly a-hundred kids under age 15 die from accidental shootings. And another thousand end up in the hospital.
Safety advocate Missy Carson Smith founded the website Gun Safe Mom. And she says that talking about guns in the home should be just as common as discussing food allergies, swimming pools, videogames, and R-rated movies. She adds that it’s not about gun rights. It’s about making sure your kids are safe.
So, how do you start the “gun conversation” with another parent?
First: Decide what your family policy is. For example, say someone tells you they have a loaded gun in their house for protection. If they don’t agree to lock it up while your kids are there, your family policy is that your kids can’t go.
Another tip for having the gun conversation: Don't worry about offending anyone. Research shows that gun owners – almost without exception – are fine with questions about gun safety. And if they are offended, you probably don’t want your kids playing there, anyway.
Finally, make sure there are no kids around when you have this conversation. After all, the parents in question may have a gun locked up in the house that their kids don’t even know about. And you don’t want to make any of the children curious.