Every time we lose another child to gun violence, we hear outrage at the senselessness of the tragedy. Rarely do you hear about a tangible opportunity to do something to prevent more children from dying.
As a pediatrician and advocate for children across the nation, I am writing about one such opportunity. It is called the ASK Campaign. The ASK (Asking Saves Kids) campaign urges parents to ask their neighbors, friends, and relatives if they have a gun in the home before sending their children over to play. It is a comprehensive national public health campaign, developed by the Center to Prevent Youth Violence in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Over one-third of homes with children have guns. Many are kept unlocked and loaded, and every year thousands of children are killed or seriously injured as a result. ASK provides a practical opportunity for parents to protect their children from gun violence. Parents across the country are committing to ASK the simple question that could save their child’s life: “Is there a gun where my child plays?”
If the answer is “No”, then that is one less thing to worry about. If the answer is “Yes,” make sure that the weapon and ammunition are stored separately, both locked and out of reach of children. If there are any doubts about the safety of another home, invite the children to your house instead.
For more information about the ASK Campaign visit www.AskingSavesKids.org.
Dr. Chad Rudnick, pediatric resident, Miami Children’s Hospital, Miami