CLEVELAND – According to the CDC, guns are the leading cause of death for children in the United States, which is why Purva Grover, MD, emergency medicine physician with Cleveland Clinic Children’s is raising awareness about the issue.
“This is so largely preventable. I think that is the most important piece of this conversation is that the more we talk about it, the more we normalize these conversations, the more we create awareness — that is the first step in preventing tragedies,” said Dr. Grover.
Doctor Grover said in terms of prevention, there are steps parents can take to help keep their kids safe.
For example, if the parent is a gun owner, they should have their weapon locked up with the ammo stored separately.
And if your child is going to a friend’s house, she encourages parents talk to each other about whether they own a gun.
She said there is nothing wrong with asking that question and finding out if they are properly storing their weapons out of reach of the kids.
It’s also important to talk to your children about gun safety as well, so they understand what to do if they are ever in a dangerous situation.
“We also have a higher rate of suicide, violence, and we are seeing patients in increasing numbers with psychiatric emergencies – depression, anxiety, psychosis,” she said. “And now you have a child who has his or her mind not well right now and they are in a really vulnerable state, and they have access to something as dangerous as a gun. I mean it’s just adding fuel to the fire.”
Doctor Grover said pediatricians are also starting to have more conversations with parents about this topic. She said they are not there to judge but rather to help educate.