Adolescence is a developmental stage characterized by high rates of violent behavior. Increasingly, violent injury is involving preadolescent children. Evidence suggests that the availability of guns increases the lethality of violent acts. Because guns are ubiquitous in the United States and integral to the current epidemic of youth violence, pediatricians should participate in primary prevention of firearm injuries. Efforts should begin long before children reach adolescence. Pediatricians should: (1) Encourage parents to remove guns from the home, or at a minimum to keep guns unloaded and locked up; (2) Advise parents to limit viewing of gun violence in the media, and playing with toy guns and video games that involve shooting (3) Be alert for early indicators of aggressive behavior; and (4) Become outspoken advocates for laws that restrict gun availability.
- Copyright © 1994 by the American Academy of Pediatrics