According to a new study published this week in JAMA Pediatrics, most resident pediatrics and pediatricians are likely to discuss about safety measures like smoke alarms to their patients and their parents instead of discussing about safety around guns. A team of doctors that analyzed health records of patients between January 2017 and July 2018 added questions related to safety measures about gun storage and smoke alarms to questionnaires given for regular pediatric checkups conducted during that time.
The query about smoke alarms are meant to counter queries around guns and researchers deliberately used that topic as being noncontroversial. According to lead author Carole Stipelman the questions were placed in sequential manner so skipping the query about guns would have been a conscious effort. After this the researchers focused on how often resident doctors and pediatricians were asking these questions.
They discovered that pediatricians made queries about smoke alarms 78 % among overall 16576 visits while guns safety related questions were asked only in 54 % visits. The study was carried out at an academic level pediatric primary care clinic which has 77 resident doctors and 26 faculty members. The paper stated that this study is important in view of the fact that suicide rate by firearms among people in the age group of 10-19 years has escalated since 2008 . This is more dangerous keeping in mind that approximately 7 % of children in USA stay in households where one unloaded and unlocked gun is present.
The paper added that safe storage of both guns and ammunition may reduce chances of self-inflicted or sometimes unintentional injury related to firearms among children if pediatricians increase call for safe storage of firearms. Researchers also noted that after the mass shootings in Las Vegas during 2017 and in Parkland in 2018 questions about gun safety to patients’ families by pediatricians reduced significantly.