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Gun-Safety Talk a Safe Bet for All Families, Experts Say

FRIDAY, Nov. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Most American parents who own guns discuss gun safety with their children, but the topic is far less likely to arise in homes without guns, a new survey finds.

Perhaps as many as half of American households have a gun, and nearly 30 children are injured or killed daily by guns, most of which are owned by the child's family or friends, according to researchers at the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

In their national poll on children's health, the researchers asked 1,621 parents about gun ownership and if they had discussed gun safety with their children.

One-third of respondents with children ages 5 to 17 said they had a gun in the home. Of parents with guns in the home, 82 percent said they have talked to their children about gun safety. But only 48 percent of parents without guns in the home have ever discussed gun safety with their children.

The survey also found that 19 percent of all parents were "very worried" that their child could be hurt by a gun at a friend's home. However, parents who owned a gun were less likely to be very worried compared with parents who did not own a gun -- 10 percent versus 24 percent, respectively.

"With firearms in about one-third of the approximately 35 million U.S. households with children under 18, discussing gun safety is something all parents need to consider. Parents in non-gun-owning households simply cannot assume that their children will never encounter a situation involving firearms," survey director Dr. Matthew Davis, an associate professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, said in a university news release.

He advised parents to find age-appropriate education materials that highlight the basic principles of gun safety and discuss these points with their children.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about children and gun safety.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of Michigan Health System, news release, Nov. 19, 2010

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