Gun Safety: Asking about Unsecured Guns Can Save Kids’ Lives

Holly Alway, MTSA – Injury Prevention
Trinity Health Muskegon

Before dropping your child off at a new friend’s house, you probably ask the adult in charge about allergies, pets, diet restrictions, supervision, internet access, and more. To keep these home visits safer and fun, ask one more important question: “My kid is pretty curious, and our doctor recommended that I ask: if you have guns, do you keep them locked up?”

Even if a firearm is stored out of sight, children are not out of danger if it isn’t stored safely. One out of every three homes with children has a gun, and even if you think they don’t know where it is, studies show that children as young as five years old know where to find it. According to, more than a third of unintentional shootings of children happen in other people’s homes, so asking about firearms is critical.

Many parents and caregivers understand the consequences of this issue but are unsure of how to start the conversation with other adults in charge. To help families navigate these conversations, pediatricians and child safety advocates across the United States have beenusing the ASK (Asking Saves Kids) initiative as a guide. In honor of ASK Day on June 21st, the Michigan Trauma Coalition (MTC) is encouraging parents and caregivers to ask about unlocked firearms in the homes their children visit.

Protect your child by knowing the environment you’re sending them into. With a few minutes of preparation ahead of time, create a plan of action by using the following tips:

  • Learn about safer storage and why it’s important from
  • Prepare your script.
    • Decide who to ask, how to ask, and how to respond to different answers.
    • Figure out who you’re most comfortable talking to among the adults in charge, and ask your questions before the visit.
    • The conversation can be held face-to-face, on the phone, or over text message.
  • Talk to your children. Teach children not to touch guns and find an adult right away if they find one.