Firearms are common in households across the U.S. today. Parents who love the outdoors and hunting want their kids to carry the legacy ahead and often take them along on trips to give them a dose of adventure right from an early age. But if you plan outdoor sprees with kids, you need to be extra conscious about safety. Filing to adhere to precautions can lead to serious accidents and fatalities. Statistics indicate that firearm injuries are a leading cause of death among children every year.
But it does not mean that owning a gun is always a risk to the life of your kids. While such mishaps are unfortunate, most of them are avoidable if you follow the recommendations. As a parent or elder, it is your responsibility to keep the younger members of the family safe. Make some rules for firearm handling and safety at home and outdoors, and you can easily prevent dangerous accidents. Here are the ones that can keep the kids safe outdoors even when you have guns around.
Know the hunting ground rules
Hunting safety starts with adults, so you need to know the rules before you step outdoors with kids in tow. Know the gun and hunting rules at the location you choose. Hunting laws differ from state to state, so it is a good idea to check the website and make sure that you do not flout the law when you are there. You may be surprised to know that most states have age limits for kids to be a part of hunting trips. Some may even require them to take gun safety classes before hunting. It is worthwhile to check the legitimate age so that you do not get on the wrong side of the law by taking your kids for hunting before they are allowed.
Eliminate access to firearms
It is common sense to keep guns out of reach for children, even if they are old enough to understand the threats. The best thing to do when traveling with guns is to keep them under lock and key unless you are out in the wild. Have proper arrangement for storage of firearms if planning an extended trip outdoors because you will have to keep them somewhere safe when back from the forest. It is important to store ammunition separately because you will not want youngsters to access both guns and bullets when you aren’t around.
Always keep the guns unloaded and locked
Even the most conscious gun owners can accidentally leave the gun in reach of kids at some point. You can cut down the risk of mishaps by making it a habit to unload and lock your firearms at all times. You can use trigger locks or cable locks for reliable protection. When you are outdoors with the weapon, practice both precautions when kids are around. Even if children manage to get their hands on the gun, there is no way they can hurt themselves with one that is unloaded and locked.
Educate kids about gun safety
Curiosity is the reason why kids end up fiddling with guns. Not talking to them about weapons will make them all the more curious, and there are chances they will try to get access to firearms in your absence. The risk is higher outdoors because you may not be around at all times. Have honest conversations with your children and educate them about the significance of gun safety. Showing them the gun is a good idea, but make sure that it is unloaded and locked. Let them see the rimfire ammunition and gun accessories so that they are no longer curious about them. Demystifying weapons is your best bet to keep your child from trying to get their hands on them.
Model safe behavior
Kids learn by watching parents and elders, and they often emulate their behavior. It is your responsibility to model safe behavior so that kids know its importance. Handling weapons is a massive responsibility, more so if you have children watching you and learning from your behavior. You will probably know how to practice safe handling from your personal experience. Still, you can check some online resources to ensure that you do your best to be a role model for your kids.
Never leave children unsupervised with firearms
Accidents happen in split seconds, so don’t assume that your child will be safe alone with a gun around even if you have to leave them for a minute. Never leave them unsupervised when you have a weapon in their reach, at home or outdoors. Ensure that an adult is around or lock away the gun in your vehicle before you leave. A little caution can save you and the child from big trouble. Be extra careful with teenagers because they are most likely to indulge in mischief at this age.
Never go slack with gun safety rules
It is easy to get complacent about gun safety if you have owned them for a long time and there has never been an accident. Remember that mishaps occur when you least expect them to happen. As a rule, you should never go slack with gun safety, no matter how obedient your kids have been about following your instructions. Be firm about the rules you want them to follow at home and when they travel with you for hunting or shooting trips. Continuous education is important. Have conversations on gun safety and make them aware of the dangers of an accidental shooting outdoors. It is even riskier as getting help in the middle of nowhere is far from easy.
You may own a firearm for valid reasons, but it is vital to keep your kids and family safe from the risk of shooting mishaps outdoors. Statistics show that the threat is real, so it deserves your attention as much as any other aspect of owning a gun. Following these rules will go a long way in keeping everyone safe and curbing the risks of hunting accidents to a significant extent.