Should PNPs ask parents about gun ownership? : Infant Mental Health for the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Infant Mental Health for the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

IMH4PNP Blog

Should PNPs ask parents about gun ownership?

by Sallie Porter on 01/18/13

Is it appropriate for PNPs to ask parents about gun ownership?

Safety and injury prevention is an important role for Pediatric Nurse Practitioners especially as unintentional injury is the leading cause of death for children over one year of age. When we think of (and address) safety and injury prevention, we likely think of things like appropriate car seat/seat belt use, safer storage of poisons and medications, and prevention of falls, burns, and drowning. Gun ownership should be addressed the same way.

It is important to ask parents about gun ownership. NAPNAP’s KYSS Assessment Questions for Parents of Older Infants and Toddlers asks about guns in the home (question 21) along with other questions about stress, smoking, trauma, sadness, and weight. PNPs can use a yes answer to ‘do you have guns in the home’ as an opportunity to explore and offer guidance about issues like responsible gun ownership, community violence, and school safety.

Often parents of young children believe their child to be less motor advanced than he or she ireally s (e.g., infant rolls off surface before parent thought him/her capable of rolling; opens a locked door and sneaks out of the house) and more cognitively/sensory advanced than he or she is (e.g., can cross street safety before at least age seven; recognizes what to do if they find a firearm). Therefore, anticipatory guidance remains important in all issues of safety and injury prevention.

What to do if a parent admits gun ownership and you have concerns about their mental health is another issue entirely.

Resources:

AAP Statement of President Obama’s Gun Violence Prevention Recommendations: http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/AAPStatementPresidentObamaGunViolencePreventionRecommendations.aspx?nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token

How to store guns safely in your home: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2012/04/26/how-to-store-guns-safely-in-your-home/

Interactive Map on Injury Prevention: http://www.rwjf.org/en/about-rwjf/newsroom/newsroom-content/2013/01/interactive-the-facts-hurt.html?cid=xtw_vphttp://www.rwjf.org/en/about-rwjf/newsroom/newsroom-content/2013/01/interactive-the-facts-hurt.html?cid=xtw_vp

KySS Assessment Questions for Parents of Older Infants and Toddlers: http://www.napnap.org/Docs/KySSAssess.pdf

National Center for Children Exposed to Violence: http://www.nccev.org/violence/community.html

 

 

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