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Why don’t parents like their kids to play with toy guns?

Laura Prater, Research Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington and Frederick Rivara, Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington, The Conversation on

Published in Parenting News

What should kids do if they find a firearm in their home or at a friend’s? The answer is very simple: Do not touch it. Leave it alone and tell an adult – even if you think it may be a toy. Checking it out yourself may cause the gun to go off accidentally and hurt someone if it turns out to be real.

The same is true at school. If you find a gun or hear classmates talking about a firearm, tell a teacher. Even if you worry your friends will get mad, telling a teacher could help prevent a serious or even deadly injury.

Parents who are responsible gun owners will teach their children about gun safety and how to handle and shoot them safely. But if you’re a school-age kid, you should never handle a gun by yourself.

Playing with or handling guns – real or fake – is dangerous and can be deadly.

Hello, curious kids! Do you have a question you’d like an expert to answer? Ask an adult to send your question to Please tell us your name, age and the city where you live.

And since curiosity has no age limit – adults, let us know what you’re wondering, too. We won’t be able to answer every question, but we will do our best.


This article is republished from The Conversation, an independent nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. The Conversation has a variety of fascinating free newsletters.

Read more:
3 ways to prevent school shootings, based on research

How does a child become a shooter? Research suggests easy access to guns and exposure to screen violence increase the risk

Frederick Rivara receives funding from NIH.

Laura Prater does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


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