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Play Date Safety

We have all had the "Stranger Danger" talk with our kids, and even the "Just Say No" conversation, but what have you told your kids about guns?

I grew up in Scotland where the only people that had guns were farmers and veterinarians to protect livestock and euthanize sick cows or horses. When I was a kid even the police were not armed.

Because of such strict gun laws there was very little gun crime in the UK, even now a gun crime will make national news because they are not frequent. Perhaps this is why I have a greater fear of guns than the majority of the population in the US.

When my kids started school and began to go on play dates, I was paranoid about them being in a house where there were guns; I would ask the mom if they had guns in the house and the reply was always the same – a stunned silence.

I offended some people by asking, but most of them were shocked that they had never thought to ask that question when sending their kids to a play date for the first time.

Kids are naturally very curious and if you have a cabinet where something is hidden away, they are going to want to check it out, maybe even show off to a friend. Younger children and teens still tend to think they are immortal; they are not capable of thinking about the implications of playing with something dangerous.

Why do some people find it so hard to ask if there are weapons in the house? Are we afraid of offending someone? What’s worse? Offending someone or your child being in a potentially harmful situation?

What have you done to protect your kids from weapons? Have you taught them what to do if they find a gun or if a friend is playing with one? Do you ask their friends' parents if they have weapons in the house and, if they do, would you ask to see how they are stored before letting your kid play there?

Here are some headlines about Connecticut children that have been victims of accidental gun crime.

John Tyler January 24, 2012 at 07:39 PM
As Doreen started off her article with her telling of how low gun crime was in Scotland and intimated that she is now quite worried about guns in the home in the United States. I agreed with her that it "is not a bad idea" to ask about guns in the home that her children are visiting. Further down in the article it states "Here are some headlines about Connecticut children that have been victims of accidental gun crime" - well, there were headlines, but they were all about children in other states, not one about children in Connecticut. At least Patch could keep from distorting the facts. Alice, you asked a good question. I suggest you search for "Crime in England" on your computer - there you will find both pro and con concerning crime in England, including gun crime. You can believe what you want, I'll believe what I want. No argument. I gave some good advice for parents about guns. Today I believe that there are more dangerous objects in homes than guns. I listed some of them. Are there illegal drugs in Branford? I suggest you read the newspapers. What's in the cabinet under your kitchen sink? Doreen has a very good idea, but she pounded on guns and forgot all of the other dangerous, and more accessible items in the home.
Doreen Currie January 24, 2012 at 09:26 PM
sorry the link did not work, however if you scroll to the bottom of the page you were directed to, you can filter by state and this will give you statistics for Connecticut. The point of the article was to address one aspect of safety concern for play dates, it does not imply this was my only concern.
Michelle Petroccio January 27, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Bill, I just wanted to say that I fortunately have a trained eye when it comes to looking for these things without even knowing I am doing it. My husband has been in the home and business security industry for many years, and I even find myself looking around in businesses to see what kind of security cameras they have installed so I can say to him 'gee I was in such and such a place today, maybe you should make a sales call on them and see if they need an upgrade'? My kids are even concious of smoke alarms and Co2 detectors. Even now that my kids are older, I am still on top of where they go and what kind of parents and homes they are visiting. It nvere hurts to be cautious. On the other hand, and back to the issue of guns, it has always been a safety issue we have discussed with ur children, and I do not and have not ever allowed them to play with any type of toy gun besides a water pistol, super soaker or nerf gun. They know the differences between fake and real, and have been taught to alert us if they are in a home where a gun may be present for any reason, including friends who have a prent on a police force.
Michelle Petroccio January 27, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Great article Doreen! You have really brought out some very strong points that most parents probably don't even consider, and take them either for granted or just don't think of to begin with. I find a majority of the kids my kids associate with to have parents from our social circle.
Krista Surprenant January 28, 2012 at 01:37 AM
It is important to know about the houses where our children are spending time. I grew up in a small PA town where hunter safety was part of our school day and we had the first day of major hunting seasons off from school since so many people hunted. If we had a gun in our house, I never knew about it. However, because of the numerous safety talks my parents had with me and the school also addressed it, I think it made a difference. The culture was also different as it was normal and some guns were on display- but I never once encountered a situation where I felt I was in an unsafe situation. It all depends on the attitudes of the people around you.

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