OBJECTIVES: The study objectives are to assess associations between hospitalized children's parental exposure to gun violence (GV) and parental beliefs about guns and gun safety; secondarily, the authors aim to describe parental views on the pediatrician's role in firearm injury prevention (FIP) counseling. METHODS: Parents residing with children <20 years old hospitalized at a quaternary care hospital in a large city were eligible. Researchers administered verbal surveys between March 2017 and July 2019. We analyzed data (Wilcoxon rank-sum, v2, or Fisher's exact tests, as appropriate) to compare the characteristics of those with exposure to GV and those without, and to assess associations of those with and without GV exposure with various beliefs. RESULTS: Enrollment included 225 parents or guardians. Although 75.5% agreed pediatricians should talk to parents about safe gun storage, 8.9% reported FIP counseling by their child's doctor. There were no substantial differences in characteristics between those with GV exposure versus those without. The study revealed that 60.0% of participants reported hearing gunshots, and 41.8% had a friend/relative who had been shot; only 29.8% reported neither. There were no differences between groups in gun-related beliefs regardless of exposure. CONCLUSIONS: In this population, there was no association between exposure to GV and gun-related beliefs. Most parents are receptive to FIP counseling, yet few have discussed FIP with their pediatrician despite high exposure to GV in this community. Nearly all parents agreed with the use of gunlocks and stricter laws for background checks. Regardless of exposure to GV, parents agreed with safe gun storage and support strengthening gun safety laws.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health