A Multicenter Evaluation of a Firearm Safety Intervention in the Pediatric Outpatient Setting

J Pediatr Surg. 2020 Jan;55(1):140-145. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2019.09.044. Epub 2019 Oct 25.


Purpose: Firearm injuries continue to be a common cause of injury for American children. This pilot study was developed to evaluate the feasibility of providing guidance about firearm safety to the parents of pediatric patients using a tablet-based module in the outpatient setting.

Methods: A tablet-based questionnaire that included a firearm safety message based on current best practice was administered to parents of pediatric patients at nine centers in 2018. Parents were shown a firearm safety video and then asked a series of questions related to firearm safety.

Results: The study was completed by 543 parents from 15 states. More than one-third (37%) of families kept guns in their home. The majority of parents (81%, n = 438) thought it was appropriate for physicians to provide firearm safety counseling. Two-thirds (63%) of gun owning parents who do not keep their guns locked said that the information provided in the module would change the way they stored firearms at home.

Conclusion: Use of a tablet based firearm safety module in the outpatient setting is feasible, and the majority of parents are receptive to receiving anticipatory guidance on firearm safety. Further data is needed to evaluate whether the intervention will improve firearm safety practices in the home.

Level of evidence: Level III.

Keywords: Firearms; Pediatric; Safety; Survey.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Computers, Handheld
  • Directive Counseling
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Firearms*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Parents / education*
  • Pediatrics
  • Pilot Projects
  • Safety*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Video Recording*
  • Wounds, Gunshot / prevention & control
  • Young Adult