ASK Day 2005-Is There a Gun Where Your Child Plays?UK health professionals urge parents to “ASK”

June 21, 2005 - Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Lexington

LEXINGTON, KY. (June 21, 2005) − Child safety experts at the University of Kentucky are urging all parents to participate in the ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Campaign to ask their neighbors if they have a gun in the home and if it is safely stored before sending their child over to play. National Ask Day 2005 is June 21. Most parents do not realize that 40 percent of homes with children have guns. Many are kept unlocked and loaded, and every year thousands of children are killed or seriously injured as a result. The ASK Campaign, started by a mother whose son was killed by a gun at his friend’s house, provides a practical opportunity for parents to protect their children from gun violence. Parents should commit to ASK the simple question that could save their child’s life – is there a gun where my child plays? Dr. Susan Pollack, pediatrician and head of the Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Lexington and assistant professor in the UK Colleges of Medicine and Public Health, said most parents do not think to ask other parents if they have a gun in the house before letting their children go over to play. They are more likely to ask about animals and allergies, she said. “The ASK Campaign empowers parents with ways to feel comfortable asking if there are guns in the homes where their children play,” Pollack said. “It is something every parent can do to keep their children safe.” According to the ASK Campaign: • More American homes have guns (43 percent) than dogs (40 percent) • Almost 90 percent of accidental shootings involving children are linked to an easy-to-find, loaded handgun in the house • More than 75 percent of kids in homes with guns say they know where the gun is hidden • 53 percent of parents reported that it never occurred to them to ask if there was a gun where their child played • 72 percent said they would be concerned if they knew there was a gun where their child played • 97 percent of parents who owned a gun said they would not feel uncomfortable if asked about the presence of a gun in their home by another parent

Parents should not feel uncomfortable asking other parents if there is a gun in their home. The ASK Campaign provides parents with the real resources they need to present their concerns in a respectful way. It helps them create an open dialogue to simply ask if their child is playing in a safe environment. The ASK Campaign is a comprehensive national public health campaign developed by PAX – Real Solutions to Gun Violence, in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics and sponsored by the American Medical Association. Locally, the ASK Campaign is supported by the Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Lexington, UK College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, UK Department of Emergency Medicine, UK Trauma Program, Kentucky Pediatric Society, Kentucky Emergency Nurses Association and the Fayette County SAFE KIDS coalition, led by Kentucky Children’s Hospital. For more information and resource materials, contact Pollack at (859) 257-6749.

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Dr. Susan Pollack, Director
Melanie Tyner-Wilson MS
Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Lexington
333 Waller Avenue, Suite 202
Lexington, KY 40504

Tele: (859) 323-6194 or (859) 257-4954
shpoll@uky.edu
mtyner@uky.edu