Assessing Firearm Storage Practices And Perceptions About Pediatrician-driven Anticipatory Guidance
Annalyn S. Demello, *Eric H. Rosenfeld, *Brian Whitaker, David E. Wesson, *Bindi J. Naik-Mathuria
Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, TX
Background: Despite a state law mandating safe firearm storage in homes with children, unintentional firearm injuries and firearm-based suicides account for a significant number of childhood deaths in Texas. The purpose of this study was to evaluate firearm storage practices and parental views on pediatrician-driven gun safety education. Methods:Following IRB approval, all parents of surgical patients admitted to a children’s hospital in Houston between 3/2017-4/2017 were approached to complete a voluntary survey. Responses were prospectively collected and analyzed using descriptive statistics, chi-square and Wilcoxon rank-sum tests.
Findings:Eighty parents completed surveys, of which 85% live in urban counties. Thirty (38%) were gun owners, 48 (60%) were non-gun owners, and 2 (2%) declined to answer. 60% of respondents were aware of the state gun storage law. The majority of gun owners (87%) reported using at least one safe storage method at home. 21 (70%) owners store their guns unloaded. Forty-seven respondents (59%) reported that they would follow anticipatory gun safety guidance by their pediatrician (17 owners (56%) vs. 30 non-gun owners (63%), p=0.91). Twenty (66%) owners felt it is appropriate to distribute safe storage devices in pediatrician’s offices, compared to 21 (43%) non gun-owners (p=0.25). Fifteen (50%) owners and 26 (54%) non-gun owners (p=0.49) were in favor of firearm safety videos playing in office waiting rooms.
Conclusions: Within the urban Houston area, safe firearm storage practices already appear prevalent in homes with children. Additionally, both gun owning and non-gun owning parents seem receptive to pediatrician-driven anticipatory gun safety guidance. This provides basis for future interventions based at community pediatrician clinics.
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