Firearm storage practices in households with children: A survey of community-based firearm safety event participants
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Background/Purpose: Safe firearm storage is associated with lower risk of unintentional and intentionally self-inflicted firearm injuries among children and adolescents. Ten community-based firearm safety events were conducted across Washington state from 2015-2018. We sought to describe characteristics of event participants and assess whether presence and age of children were associated with firearm locking practices among firearm-owning households. Methods: We assessed demographic characteristics and baseline firearm storage behaviors of participants using a 13-item survey. Multivariable Poisson regression models were used to estimate prevalence ratios (PR) and corresponding confidence intervals (CI) for the association of presence and age of children in households with prevalence of storing a household firearm unlocked. Results/Outcomes: Of 2,956 participants, 58.3% were male and 57.8% lived with an individual under 18 years. Among the 90.5% participants living with firearms, 40.1% stored at least one firearm unlocked and 39.1% stored at least one firearm loaded. In adjusted analyses, there was no statistically significant difference in prevalence of storing a household firearm unlocked between those living with no children and those living with a child <11 years (PR=0.91; 95% CI: 0.80,1.04), or a child aged 11-18 years (PR=0.94; 95% CI: 0.81,1.09). Conclusions: A high proportion of participants stored a firearm unlocked or loaded at home and neither living with young children nor adolescents was associated with safer locking practices. In comparison with evidence-based interventions conducted in clinic settings, these community-based interventions were successful in enrolling a large number of participants who were more likely to be male and own firearms.
- Global health