Firearm Safety

Parent Survey
The aims of the survey were to assess the prevalence of firearms and firearm storage/safety practices in St. Louis-area households with children under the age of 19 as well as determine parent receptiveness to conversations about gun storage/safety with their pediatrician.

Parents completed a paper survey while in the waiting room of their pediatric care provider. We found that 36% of respondents had household firearms, and of those, 25.1% reported at least one firearm was stored loaded. The majority of parents (regardless of firearm ownership) thought the pediatrician should advise about safe storage of firearms and believed that pediatricians should ask about the presence of household firearms, but only 12.8% of all parents reported a discussion about firearms with the pediatrician.

Garbutt, J. M., Bobenhouse, N., Dodd, S., Sterkel, R., & Strunk, R. C. (2016). What are parents willing to discuss with their pediatrician about firearm safety? A parental survey. The Journal of pediatrics, 179, 166-171.

Next Steps – Firearm Message Development
We obtained a pilot grant to work with the University of Missouri School of Journalism to develop messages for primary care providers. The goal of these messages is to urge parents to ensure that all firearms are safely stored in homes where their child or adolescent lives or visits regularly. We will test the acceptability of these firearm-safety messages for providers and parents, and evaluate important factors for tailoring the selected firearm safety messages to increase their effectiveness.

Current Status

  • [4.4.2018] In progress.


Children's Hospital St. Louis
Wash U School of Medicine
Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences