talk it out

A Pediatrician Gives The Perfect Dialogue For Discussing Firearm Safety Before A Play Date

A solid 40% of U.S. adults say they live in a household with a gun.

One pediatrician on TikTok encourages more parents to have a possibly life-saving conversation about...
TikTok / @dr.emzieees

With yet another tragic mass shooting occurring in the United States this week, conversations about gun safety are more important than ever. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives Americans the right to bear arms, and about a third of U.S. adults say they personally own a gun. And 40% of U.S. adults say they live in a household with a gun.

And the worst statistic of them all: firearms are now the leading cause of death for children and teens in the United States. Every year, 19,000 children and teens are shot and killed or wounded and approximately 3 million are exposed to gun violence.

These numbers are heightened by guns that reside inside a home and not kept safely away from children. According to Everytown, 4.6 million children live in a home where a gun is present, and approximately three million American children witness gun violence every year.

The vast majority of child and teen gun homicide deaths and unintentional shooting deaths and injuries occur in the home. More than 80% of child suicides involve a gun that belong to a family member.

With those kind of numbers, it only makes sense that parents should be asking questions about firearms in their kid’s friends’ homes. One pediatrician is leading the charge in encouraging more parents to have this possibly life-saving conversation. And she’s giving step-by-step info on how not to make it weird or hard.

TikTok user @dr.emziees went viral after she demonstrated an easy, straight-forward conversation that parents can have about firearms to ensure the safety of their kids.

In her video — which now has over 1.2 million views — the pediatric resident assistant mimics two parents having a conversation about an upcoming play date to show just how simple (and not awkward) it can actually be.

First, she starts off the conversation with a less-intense, more common question that parents often ask about before getting kids together. “Hey, um, do they have any allergies we should know about?” she asks.

After getting over that hurdle, she continues on, asking about firearms in the home, noting that her pediatrician had mentioned to start asking the question before play dates. “Our pediatrician did mention at our last well child [visit] that wherever they're going we should be asking if there's any firearms in the home,” she says.

Then she acts as the other person on the other side of the conversation, admitting they do have a gun in their home.

Then, she asks how that gun is stored in their home. “Yes, they're all locked away in a safe. None of the kids have the code, and we have the ammo stored separately.”

Comments flooded in from parents who praised the doctor’s simple messaging while others took issue with the “violation of privacy.”

One mom wrote, “As a responsible gun owner, I never get offended when someone asks me questions like this. Ask away!”

Another user wrote, “My dad would ALWAYS disclose that we had guns in the house before any of my friends came over, parents should always know!”

An ER doctor chimed in, noting that this is a great conversation for parents to start having. “As an ER doc, I’ve seen WAY WAY too many kids with GSW [gun shot wounds]. As a mom, it terrifies me. This is such an important conversation to have.”

However, there were some comments on the viral video that did not take too kindly to this doctor’s upfront approach to home gun safety.

“The problem is that nobody needs to know what you have in your house to protect yourself,” one user wrote, seemingly implying that this question was a violation of their privacy.

The OP created a response video, using that TikTok user’s comment as the new response from her original video’s conversation. Once she replies as the gun-owning parent, she shares how she would respond as the parent who is inquiring about firearms in the home.

“Okay, as a parent of a child, I'm often looking up for hazards and one of those is guns. So, for me, it's really important to know what hazards my child might come across when they're in somebody else's home because by sending my child to your home I am entrusting you with their safety,” she says.

“If you can't guarantee their safety while they're in your home, I don't know that feel comfortable if I can't identify the hazards that they may come across.”

She then suggests a rescheduled play date at a different location like a park or another public setting. If that compromise is not sufficient enough for the gun-owning parent, the pediatrician says you’re probably better off.

“You know what, if they don't feel comfortable with that maybe they're not the right people to be watching your children,” she says.