Vig­i­lant moms can’t shy away from ask­ing about gun safety

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - CLASSIFIED MARKETPLACE - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN

Dear Abby: I am a Yale­trained pe­di­atric nurse with a post-master’s as a psy­chi­atric nurse prac­ti­tioner. I re­spect­fully ask that you re­tract your an­swer to “First-Time Mom in New Jersey” (June 21). I’m con­cerned your re­sponse will en­cour­age other moth­ers to buy into the in­cor­rect as­sump­tion that it’s “im­po­lite” to ask ques­tions that en­sure their child’s safety.

You should have en­cour­aged and em­pow­ered “First-Time Mom” to po­litely ask about the pres­ence of weapons in the other par­ents’ homes, and if so, how they are stored. It’s im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion for her to have.

If she has every play­date at her house and re­fuses to go to an­other home be­cause she’s afraid to ask about gun safety, even­tu­ally the other moth­ers will pick up on the fact that she doesn’t trust their child-rear­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, but won’t know why. If th­ese po­ten­tial friends don’t have un­se­cured firearms,

or if they do and they are prop­erly and safely stored, your ad­vice will pre­vent healthy, hon­est friend­ships from de­vel­op­ing, which will so­cially iso­late her.

How will she ever en­sure a break for her­self by al­low­ing and en­cour­ag­ing her child to so­cial­ize at an­other trusted mother’s home she knows to be safe? Your ad­vice will only iso­late “First-Time Mom” fur­ther and put her and her tod­dler at great risk. — Colleen M. Sul­li­van, RN, MSN, CPNP Dear Colleen: Of course you are right. The woman’s ques­tion wasn’t about eti­quette. It was about child safety. A large num­ber of read­ers be­sides you agreed my per­spec­tive was off. I have heard all of you loud and clear, and I apol­o­gize.

I should have ad­vised: “You are re­spon­si­ble for your child’s

wel­fare. Part of as­sur­ing her safety in­volves ask­ing whether weapons are on the premises and, if so, what safety pre­cau­tions have been taken. You should also ask if the chil­dren will be un­der parental su­per­vi­sion at all times. If any­one feels con­cern for your child’s safety is pre­sump­tu­ous, do not al­low your child to play there. Sug­gest in­stead that the chil­dren play at your house.”

Read on for more per­spec­tives:

Dear Abby: I am a pe­di­a­tri­cian and a mother.

Re­search shows that guns are present in one in three homes, and that one in three of those guns is kept loaded and un­locked, pos­ing a risk to chil­dren. This is why I rou­tinely rec­om­mend that par­ents in­quire about the pres­ence of guns and stor­age meth­ods at the homes their chil­dren visit. I also urge them to dis­cuss with their child the im­por­tance of never touch­ing a gun and im­me­di­ately

no­ti­fy­ing an adult if they come across a gun or are shown one by an­other child. — Jes­sica Mowry, M.D.

Dear Abby:Prob­a­bly the tough­est call a cop has is a shoot­ing where one child gets ahold of a loaded, un­se­cured gun and ac­ci­den­tally kills his sib­ling in child’s play.

Par­ents should be able to po­litely ask whether a gun is in a house where their chil­dren reg­u­larly play. Some­times the own­ers are not as re­spon­si­ble as they should be. — Ch­ester J. Kulis, Illi­nois Read­ers: More on this sub­ject to­mor­row. It’s im­por­tant, so stay tuned.

Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069 or visit

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