Assessment of Pediatric Residents' Attitudes toward Anticipatory Counseling on Gun Safety

Children (Basel). 2019 Nov 1;6(11):122. doi: 10.3390/children6110122.


Introduction: Guns remain a major cause of injury and death among children. We determined pediatric residents' familiarity with gun safety campaigns and their gun safety counseling practices. We determined pediatric residents' comfort with the Asking Saves Kids (ASK) campaign, which recommends that parents ask about gun safety and storage where their children play.

Methods: Cross-sectional 27-item electronic survey was distributed to three pediatric residency programs in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Residents were asked to respond to statements using a seven-point Likert scale on familiarity with three gun safety campaigns and their attitudes toward gun safety counseling.

Results: 82% of respondents were not familiar with gun safety programs. 23% reported not counseling. 87% believed it is a good idea to ask about guns in a home but only 64% were comfortable recommending their patients' parents to ask about guns. 59% were personally comfortable asking about guns in the home. 15% believed their patients' parents would be comfortable asking about guns in the homes of friends and families.

Conclusions: The residents in this survey supported the idea of gun safety anticipatory guidance but discussing firearms can be problematic. Educational programs and strategies are needed to support physicians' counselling on gun safety.

Keywords: Asking Saves Kids (ASK); anticipatory guidance; firearm deaths; firearm safety; gun ownership.