Toddlers Shouldn't Have Access to Guns … but They Do & It's Terrifying

toddlers gunsForty-three. That's the incredible number of incidents in the past year of toddlers getting access to guns and shooting themselves or someone else. That's about one per week. Anyone else find that totally alarming?

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In 13 of the total 43 times toddlers were able to access and fire a gun, they killed themselves. It's time for parents to get wise to the fact that guns are going to be a part of their kids' lives from a very early age in this country.

These sad stats were compiled by the Washington Post's Christopher Ingram by searching through media reports. He thinks these numbers are probably pretty low, since there are likely plenty of cases of toddlers shooting guns that don't get media attention.

This week's toddler shooting happened in South Carolina when a 2-year-old found a gun in the backseat of a car and shot his grandmother sitting in the passenger seat.

Yes, these people were driving around in a car with a baby and a loaded, unlocked gun in the backseat. Unbelievable. But this story isn't some isolated, freak accident. This is happening every week in America.

Have people become so casual with guns that they're just treated like toys? Because those aren't Nerf bullets. You want to have your weapons, fine. Go nuts. But at a bare minimum can we babyproof our weapons cache?

We babyproof cleaning chemicals and medicines. We mandate car seats and give our kids vaccines. So why aren't we protecting our kids from guns?

More from The Stir: 3-Year-Old Kills Father & Provides Heartbreaking Gun Safety Reminder

It's a new world, and parents have to be smart and understand that wherever their child goes, there's a possibility of a gun or other deadly weapon being left out in the open where he or she can access it. So what can we do to protect our babies? 

First, lock up your damn guns. All of them. Store them safely and keep them away from kids. Here are some gun storage safety guidelines for households with kids.

Second, we've got to face the world our kids live in today and talk to them often and openly about the dangers of guns. Some parents might opt for some kind of gun safety training for their children. Others might just tell their kids to stay far, far away, and that if their friend pulls out a gun, they just assume it's loaded and ready to kill them at any moment.

And finally, parents have to get proactive about asking anyone who will be supervising their kids if he or she has a gun, and if so whether it's stored safely. Ask other parents before a slumber party about guns in the house and make it your business to know if someone is bringing a firearm into your home or car.

It's sad, but with a toddler getting access to a gun and hurting someone every week, it is more than a trend. And parents have to do whatever they can to make sure their kids don't end up hurting themselves or someone else with a carelessly stashed weapon.

 

Image via iStock

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