UW Health professionals promote gun safety through Ask Day
National Ask Day is a day dedicated to encourage parents to ask about how they or others around them store firearms.
UW-Health specialists who have seen children hurt by guns firsthand are looking to spread awareness about how parents should store their firearms.
“So, this campaign is really designed more for parents to start asking the question about, are we keeping kids safe?” UW Health Medical Director for Pediatric Trauma Program, Adam Brinkman, said. “And if we aren’t, are there policies and procedures in place that can certainly help to keep them safe in the future?”
According to Brinkman, a recent trend shows more children die from firearms than from vehicle crashes.
“Recently there has been a tend in which now firearms, and fatal firearm injuries, have surpassed those of motor vehicle collisions,” Brinkman said.
Eau Claire Police Public Information Officer, Josh Miller, says one of the best ways to avoid gun related incidents is to make sure firearms are properly stored in the home.
“More than anything it’s about securing the firearm, keeping them under lock and key,” Miller said. “Whether it’s a gun safe, a smaller safe, or using trigger locks, anything like that is always the best practice.”
People of all ages can be injured by firearms, but Miller said seeing a child injured by one is the hardest.
“Unfortunately, we have had cases of people being injured by firearms, whether it’s through negligent use of them, not realizing that they’re loaded,” Miller said. “Obviously those are tragic cases and the worst we would ever want to see is a child to be injured in that manner.”
Although it may be stressful to ask other parents about how they store firearms in their home, Brinkman says it’s an important step to increasing safety if your child visits that home.
“Asking a simple question, do you have firearms in your home?” Brinkman said. “If the answer is yes, following that up with where are they kept?”
He said overall, the goal is to bring guns into the conversation to keep children safe.
“We need to take steps to not only treat injuries related to firearms, but also to prevent them from happening in the future,” Brinkman said.
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