When a kid sees a gun, depending on their age, they might not understand that the gun is something that is dangerous. They also may not realize that it is not a toy, but you can teach your children exactly what to do should that happen.
While the general rule in every case no matter where they find it is to leave it and report it to the closest, most trusted adult, overall this may happen differently depending on where they are. The only way they are going to know what to do is if we tell and show them what to do.
If they are at one of their friend’s houses and they come across a gun there, they should feel comfortable telling the adults there that a gun is out. If that is something that you don’t want them to encounter or have access to, they should also have an easy way to contact you in case they feel they need to leave. It’s important that your child know your phone number and be able to use it in this and in other situations.
If your child encounters a gun at a park or some other public venue, they should know to leave it and let you know if you are close by. If that is not the case but they see a cop or a park ranger, then they should feel comfortable enough to go up to them and report it to them. If no one that they can trust is nearby for whatever reason, they should immediately leave the area and tell you right away. When they leave the area though, they should be able to tell where they are so that someone might be able to find it again just in case.
The most important element is that your child understands that playing around a gun or trying to touch it is not a good idea. These four steps are the foundation for teaching children what to do should they encounter a gun (sort-of a different version of stop, drop and roll).
1) STOP! Whatever they are doing, whether it is playing or walking by or hanging at a friend’s house, they need to stop
2) DON’T TOUCH IT! Again, no matter where they are, whose it is, what is happening, they should know not to touch it
3) LEAVE THE AREA! This is perhaps the most important because even though they aren’t going anywhere near it, there is nothing to say that no one else will go near it and mess with it. They need to make sure that they are safe by leaving
4) TELL A TRUSTED ADULT! This step is just as important as all they rest, because from there the adult can take action to make sure it isn’t around the children by letting authorities know that there is a weapon within children’s reach.
By teaching your child knows these four steps, they are more likely to stay safe no matter where they are or when it might happen.
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