In an effort to encourage families and communities to take an active role in protecting children from gun violence, leading healthcare systems across Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey have joined thousands of hospitals and health associations in a nationwide public awareness and education campaign.
The campaign, “It Doesn’t Kill to Ask,” focuses on providing caregivers, parents, and community members with actionable tools to speak up about safe gun storage and help them feel empowered to ask other parents about access to guns in a home their child might visit.
Gun violence requires a comprehensive approach to prevention and treatment through community education, outreach, and advocacy. A key part of prevention is normalizing conversations about gun storage. The campaign comes at a time when an average of 13 children die from guns every day, making guns the leading cause of death in children.
Through a series of broadcast, print and digital public service messages, along with a website, the campaign will highlight that access to unlocked guns may lead to death, suicide, and gun violence, making it more likely that children will die from guns than cancer or automobile accidents. The website provides tips on how to have a conversation with other parents and families about safely stored firearms and encourages making this conversation as normal as asking about pets or food allergies before a playdate.
Given the prevalence of gun violence across the tri-state area, and in Philadelphia in particular, 13 regional hospitals and health systems, including Temple Health, are uniting to face this crisis together, as they’ve done to encourage masking during COVID-19 and other efforts to help protect public health in our communities.
The campaign is spearheaded by Northwell Health, New York State’s largest health system.