Public Release: 

Internet misfires as source of accurate information on storing firearms

Study finds only 2 percent of commonly searched websites correctly identified all four practices shown to protect children in homes with guns

American Academy of Pediatrics

WASHINGTON, DC - The vast majority of Internet pages visited by people searching for firearms storage guidance prove to be duds when it comes to giving accurate and complete information on how to keep children safe around guns.

Only 2 percent of web pages with information on firearm storage correctly identified all four practices shown to protect children and adolescents living in homes with guns, according to research to be presented at the

American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition in Washington, DC, on Oct. 25. The four safety measures include keeping guns locked and unloaded, and storing ammunition locked and in a separate location, said lead researcher Katherine L. Freundlich, MD, FAAP, a clinical instructor in the department of pediatrics and communicable diseases at the University of Michigan Medical School.

For the study, researchers identified 87 web pages using the 10 most common Google search terms related to firearm storage in the United States. Not only was the information incomplete or incorrect on the most of the websites, it scored low on technical quality and readability. Researchers concluded web pages visited by consumers using common search methods are unlikely to provide adequate guidance about safe firearm and ammunition storage in the home.

"Everyone who is a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or neighbor to children should want to protect them from needless firearm injury and death," Dr. Freundlich said. "People who are considering turning to the Internet for guidance on home gun storage should be aware that the information they find is unlikely to give them all the advice they need."

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Dr. Freundlich will present findings from the study, "Quality of Consumer-Targeted Internet Guidance on Home Firearm and Ammunition Storage," at 11:40 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 25 in the Washington Marriott Marquis Independence Ballroom Salon E. To view the abstract, visit https://aap.confex.com/aap/2015/webprogrampreliminary/Paper30023.html. Please note: only the abstract is being presented at the meeting. In some cases, the researcher may have more data available to share with media, or may be preparing a longer article for submission to a journal.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit http://www.aap.org.

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