Objective: To examine the status of formal training in pediatric residency programs with regard to firearm safety counseling.
Setting: Pediatric residency programs of the coterminous United States (N = 209).
Patients or other participants: The population of pediatric residency program directors.
Main outcome measures: A national baseline assessment of the proportion of pediatric residency programs with formal training on firearm safety counseling. In addition, the content taught, methods of provision, barriers to offering such training, and resources that could increase the number of programs offering such training.
Results: The response rate of the residency directors was 77%. One third of the residency programs offered formal firearm safety counseling training. Sixty-five percent of the respondents strongly agreed that it is the pediatrician's responsibility to counsel on this topic. Few residency directors (19%) perceived that firearm safety counseling would be effective in reducing the number of accidental firearm injuries or deaths. The 3 resources most frequently identified that, if available, would increase the amount of time residencies would spend on training were video training programs (64%), patient education materials (62%), and a curriculum guide (55%).
Conclusions: Pediatricians have a vested interest in preventing childhood firearm violence. Yet, fewer than half of the residency directors believed that firearm issues be given high priority in residency programs. The barriers to providing such training (eg, no trained personnel and lack of educational resources) should not be major impediments to resolving this health problem.