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Evaluation of age-appropriate firearm safety interventions.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES

The purpose of this study was to determine if firearm safety training increased the knowledge of school-age children about gun safety. It was predicted that children's knowledge, attitudes, and feelings about firearm safety would be impacted by the method used to teach the key firearm safety constructs. The specific aim was to test the effects of 3 levels of firearm safety training on school-age children's knowledge about gun safety. The hypothesis was that children who attended a firearm injury prevention program that used a scripted discussion, psychomotor exercise, and a role-playing exercise about firearm safety would have greater knowledge about firearm safety.

METHODS

A quasi-experimental pretest-posttest randomized complete block design was used. There were 57 participants, 58% were male and the mean age was 5.89 years. A pictorial tool was used to assess kindergarten and first-grade students' baseline and postintervention knowledge of firearm safety.

RESULTS

Knowledge increased in all of the intervention groups [F(3,53) = 6.69, P = 0.001]. The greatest increase in knowledge occurred in the scripted discussion/psychomotor exercise group which exhibited an 81% increase in knowledge from the pretest to the posttest. There was no change in the control group's knowledge from pretest to posttest (P = 0.3).

CONCLUSIONS

This study provides evidence that children do retain firearm safety training. The long-term objective of this research is to reduce the incidence of firearm injuries during childhood by teaching children how to be safe around guns.

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