A firearm safety program for children: they just can't say no

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1996 Aug;17(4):216-21.


The purpose of this study was to compare children's play and aggressive behavior with firearms before and after an information-based intervention. Correlates of aggression and gun play were also analyzed. Subjects were 24 pairs of preschool children videotaped for 10 minutes in a structured play setting, in which they had access to a variety of toys and to real and toy guns. One child from each dyad was then exposed to an information-based intervention and told not to play with guns. The children were again videotaped in the same setting approximately 1 week later. Results indicated that the intervention was ineffective in modifying the behavior of the children. Regression analyses revealed that access to a parent's firearm was correlated with gun play and that gun play and handling of firearms in the home were correlated with aggressive behavior. The findings in this study represent the first systematic attempt to decrease gun play in children and suggest that information provision alone is an insufficient intervention.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Firearms*
  • Health Education*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Play and Playthings
  • Risk Factors
  • Safety*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wounds, Gunshot / prevention & control*
  • Wounds, Gunshot / psychology