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The Center for Children's Health

Gun Safety

Aim for safety

Aim for safety. Safe storage. Safe children. Safe play.

Learn the three steps to protect children from firearm injuries and why those steps are important.

Visit aimforsafety.org

  • Store firearms unloaded and in locked locations, out of reach of children.
  • Use trigger locks and gun boxes.
  • Secure ammunition separately.
  • Hide gun safe and trigger lock keys.
  • Keep unlocked guns in your possession.
  • Make sure all guns are equipped with effective, child-resistant gun locks.
  • If a visitor has a gun in a backpack, briefcase, handbag, or unlocked car, provide them with a locked place to keep it when in your home.

If your child sees a gun, teach them to:

  • Stop.
  • Don't touch.
  • Run away.
  • Tell a grown up.
  • Ask the parents of your child's friends if they have guns in their homes and how they are being stored.
  • If you are asked about your guns, don't be offended.
  • Aim for Safety is for advocating gun safety and gun safety only.
  • This information is to aid gun owners in protecting not only their own children, but also those that enter their home.

Why are these steps important?

"It won't happen to us" is a common theme among children and accidental injuries such as gun shootings. However, the numbers tell a different story. In 2017, there were at least 26 children ages 0-11 in the state of Texas alone that were accidentally killed because a gun was not safely locked away. And there are many more children who have suffered severe injuries with life-changing results.

We can't assume that a child doesn't know where the guns in the house are hidden or that they do not know how to operate one. Children are exposed to violence and guns through media and video games and it may be difficult for them to separate which one is real and which one is not.

You must explain to your kids how a gun on TV or a video game is much different than one in real life. In addition, BB and pellet guns have been proven to be dangerous, despite the common belief that they are harmless.

Here are a few very important reasons to do the Aim for Safety 3 step:

  • 19 children killed or injured daily
  • 350 million guns in the U.S.
  • 1 of 3 homes with kids have guns
  • 1,300 children die yearly due to gun related death
  • Over 500 children killed or injured in Texas yearly due to gun related death
  • 36% of Texas households own a gun
  • 199,000 children in Texas live with unlocked loaded firearms
  • Harris and Tarrant counties have the highest number of registered firearms
  • 54% of cases seen by Cook Children's from 2012-16 occurred in the home

National data:

  • 350 million guns are estimated in the United States
  • 1 in 3 homes with kids <17 have guns
  • 1,300 children die annually due to gun related injuries

Texas data:

  • 500+ children (ages 0-18) are injured or killed
  • 36% of Texas households own a gun
  • 199,000 children live with unlocked, loaded firearms
  • In 2019 at least 32 children were killed from unintentional shootings

Local, Cook Children's data:

  • The majority of injuries treated at Cook Children's are school age and unintentional
  • Many injuries are due to guns that may not seem dangerous such as airguns, BB guns, but can cause serious injuries as well as death
  • Injuries to the head, neck and extremities are most common

Gun safety is crucial for caregivers to navigate as their kids visit family and have playdates with friends. These simple conversation starters can help save lives.

  • "I know this is kind of awkward, but I have to ask: Do you have guns in the home? And if so, how are they stored? My kids' safety is too important for me to be afraid of having the conversation."
  • "I know the kids have hung out quite a bit, but my son has never been over to your house so I want to confirm a couple of things: Will an adult be at the house the whole time? Also, I heard a story on the news that made me decide I should always ask this-do you have any firearms, and how are they stored?"
  • "Before I drop my daughter off, I just wanted to ask if you have firearms in your home and confirm how they are stored. I want to make sure she knows your safety rules as well."
  • "We just had our yearly check-up and our pediatrician said gun related injuries are on the rise. With that being said, I wanted to ask if you have any unsecured guns in your home?"
  • "Do you require your child to still sit in a car seat or booster seat? Do you have pets? Are there any food allergies? Do you have guns in your home? Are they secure?"
  • "I heard on the news last night over 1/3 of homes have guns and many of those guns are left unlocked and loaded. For this reason, I need to ask if you have an unsecured gun in your home."

Who should you be having these conversations with?

  • Babysitters
  • Family members
  • Friends
  • Grandparents
  • Roommates
  • Party host

Email safe.kids@cookchildrens.org if you would like any of the following:

  • Request presentation
  • Pintables: slim card, ages and stages brochure (English/Spanish)
  • Gun safety collateral: Gun locks, Aim for Safety erasers, Aim for Safety slim cards (English/Spanish), Aim for Safety brochure (English/Spanish)

McGruff Talks to kids about gun safety (K-6)

Project is on hold due to COVID-19 Restrictions

Cook Children's is looking for parents of children ages 4-12 years old to participate in a gun safety research project.

The study takes place on the Cook Children's main campus in Fort Worth, TX, and participants must be willing to attend the onsite sessions.

  • Participating in the study is completely FREE.
  • Study includes one visit to Cook Children's Medical Center and two follow-up phone calls.
  • Parents will receive information on how they can obtain free firearm safety devices.

This project is being conducted by Dan Guzman, M.D., a Cook Children's Emergency Department physician.

If you are interested in participating, please submit this short survey:

Participate in survey

NOTE: If you are logged into a Cook Children's computer, or accessing Cook Children's wi-fi network, please use this link instead:

Participate in survey


Community events


Questions or comments

If you have any questions or would like more information about our program, please email safe.kids@cookchildrens.org.