New research shows that both gun-owning and non-gun-owning parents are open to discussions about gun locks and other firearm safety measures, especially when the conversation is with their child’s pediatrician. The study, led by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine, shows a possible avenue for reducing the number of firearm injuries and deaths suffered by children in the United States. The study is published in the Journal of Applied Research on Children.
“Parents appreciated a collaborative approach to decision-making and the emphasis on child safety,” says the study’s lead author, Katelin Hoskins, a postdoctoral researcher in the Penn Center for Mental Health. “Our findings add to a growing evidence base that a nonjudgmental, empathetic, and collaborative approach to firearm storage counseling enhances acceptability and potential effectiveness for behavior change.”
Hoskins and her colleagues, including the study’s senior author, Rinad Beidas, director of Penn Medicine’s Nudge Unit, founding director of the Penn Implementation Science Center, and a professor of psychiatry and medical ethics and health policy, examined the reception of a firearm safety program called Suicide and Accident prevention through Family Education (S.A.F.E.) Firearm. S.A.F.E. Firearm involves a discussion between a child’s parent and a pediatrician, and focuses on secure storage of guns to keep them out of the hands of kids. A free cable lock is also offered through the program.
Researchers found that, overall, parents were very receptive to a pediatrician discussing firearm safety. On a five-point scale used in studies to measure “acceptability,” the pediatrician-delivered program scored a 4.35 average, with no significant difference between those who owned firearms and those who did not.
This story is by Frank Otto. Read more at Penn Medicine News.