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Gun Play

By Holly Korschun

Two guns, one real and one toy

In a survey of parents in pediatric ERs, most believed their children would be able to tell the difference between a toy gun and a real gun—as did the children themselves.

But when Emory physician Kiesha Fraser Doh, assistant professor of emergency medicine in pediatrics, and colleagues asked children 7 to 17 to distinguish a real weapon from a toy one, only 41 percent made the correct choice.

Also, they found, only a third of parents who own guns follow the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines for safe gun storage: Keep weapons locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition. “The majority of parents are storing their firearms insecurely, and children cannot tell the difference between a real gun and a toy one,” Fraser Doh says. “It behooves pediatricians to continue to educate families on how to store firearms safely, and is a reminder to parents to check on how firearms are being stored in their own home and in homes their children are visiting.”

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