As schools let out across the country on the first day of summer, parents are taking steps to keep their children safer from unintentional gun violence. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence joined with child safety and public health organizations nationwide today to promote ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Day, a campaign encouraging parents to ASK if there is an unlocked gun in the homes where their children play.
Kris Brown, co-president of the Brady Center, stated:
“As a mother of two daughters, I know the role of caregivers in asking critical, life saving questions related to our children’s safety. Asking about guns in the home must be one of the questions routinely asked. I’ve heard too many stories of children lost to family fire in the home not to ask. ASK Day is an important opportunity for parents to take a simple step to protect their kids by making sure they aren’t playing in homes with unsecured guns. Just by asking, a parent can make all the difference in the world. And, we remind everyone to ask every day, not just on ASK Day.”
Now in its 18th year, the ASK Campaign has inspired parents and caregivers to ask about unlocked guns in the homes where their children visit and play. A recent study indicated that approximately 4.6 million children live in homes with a gun that is stored loaded and unlocked. Additionally, every day in the U.S., eight children are unintentionally injured or killed by a gun.
In recognition of the event, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) both sponsored letters to colleagues declaring June 21 to be National ASK Day.
Dr. Nina Agrawal, a practicing pediatrician whose research supports the positive impact of the ASK program, added:
“Parents and doctors need to ask if there are guns in the home, stored locked and unloaded. We know most parents want this lifesaving gun safety education, and when they learn about the ASK program, they are more comfortable asking if there is a gun where their child plays. Research shows that safe storage reduces the risk of gun-related injuries and deaths in children. My practice in the Bronx sees more than its fair share of gun violence, and whenever I speak to parents about the issue, I encourage them to ask about firearms in the home. We’re talking about our children’s lives – it’s too important not to.”
In addition to the Brady Center, Team ENOUGH members will be joining the effort and ASKing similar questions of the adults in their lives. Rather than asking about children’s playdates, the students will ask if there are guns in the homes where they babysit, if they are moving into a new group house, or in the home of a friend in crisis.
Last fall, the U.S. Government Accountability Office compared safe storage awareness programs and reported that ASK and its parent-centered message was the only nationwide program validated as effective.
The Brady Center partners with major public health and child safety organizations in recognition of ASK Day, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National PTA, the American Public Health Association, and the Injury Free Coalition for Kids.
For more information about ASK Day, please visit www.askingsaveskids.org.