Is There An Unlocked Gun Where Your Child Plays?

On June 21, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence urges parents to ask a simple question to keep kids saf

A gun, found by a child, can change lives forever in just a few moments. On June 21, the first day of summer, parents are reminded to ask other parents if there is an unlocked gun in the home where their child is going to play.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence created ASK Day to prevent injuries and deaths from guns that are stored unsafely in homes. The ASK (Asking Saves Kids) campaign promotes a simple idea with the potential to help keep kids safe. Ask, "Is there an unlocked gun in your house?" before sending your child over to play.

"All parents care about the safety of their children," said Sandra Hassink, MD, FAAP, president of the AAP. "The ASK campaign helps parents talk with each other comfortably about guns in the home. Asking this simple question is an important step every parent can take to help their kids stay safe."

America's Largest Playdate:

To celebrate ASK Day this year, "America's Largest Playdate" events will be taking place at 2:00 p.m. Eastern across the country on Sunday, June 21. To represent the important role of pediatricians working with families to keep children safe, AAP District II Chair Danielle Laraque, MD, FAAP, will speak at the public playdate event at Fort Greene Park's Central Lawn in Brooklyn, New York, and Joseph Wright, MD, FAAP, will speak at the public event at President's Park on the Ellipse in Washington, DC, where attendees can enjoy free snacks, cold treats, entertainment, and crafts at both of these events. And participating families are invited to help set a new Guinness World Record for the largest game of "telephone." Information on how to participate available at  

About one-third of homes with kids have guns, many left unlocked or loaded. Just talking to your child about the dangers of firearms is not enough. Children are naturally curious. If a gun is accessible in someone's home, there is a good chance a child will find it and play with it. Countless tragedies have occurred when kids found guns that parents thought were well hidden or safely stored.

The ASK Campaign Urges Parents:

If your child is going to play or hang out at a home where he hasn't been before, ask if there is a gun in that home.

  • If the answer is no, that's one less thing to worry about.
  • If the answer is yes, then you need to ask how the gun is stored—it should be stored in a locked location and unloaded. Ammunition should be locked up separately.
  • If you are not comfortable with the answers, you should invite the other child to play at your house instead.

The AAP remains committed to reducing gun injuries to children, and advocates for stronger gun laws, comprehensive access to mental health care, and necessary funding for federal gun violence research and prevention efforts.