Pediatric Providers' Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, and Barriers to Firearms Safety Counseling

Avni M. Bhalakia, Annalyn Demello, Kristen Beckworth, Brittany Johnson, Bindi Naik-Mathuria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives Firearms-related injuries and deaths are a leading cause of death in children and young adults ages 5 to 24 years. This study evaluated the counseling practices and barriers to providing safe firearms storage education by pediatricians and advance practice providers. Methods An online survey was sent to 296 pediatric outpatient providers in Houston, Texas. Pediatric providers were asked about demographics, knowledge, attitudes, and current practices regarding firearms safety counseling. Descriptive and comparative analyses were performed. Results Survey respondents (N = 76) were 86% women and 87% physicians. Most (86%) agree that they should discuss firearms safety with parents, whereas only 32% report routine counseling. The most frequent barrier to providing education was insufficient time (63%), followed by unfamiliarity with guns (26%). Conclusions Pediatric providers are interested in firearms safety counseling, but few incorporate it into their practice. Addressing barriers of time and comfort level around firearms are potential first steps to curbing a leading cause of injury death among children. Further research is needed to develop counseling methods that are time efficient and culturally competent for the pediatric office.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)636-639
Number of pages4
JournalSouthern medical journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • children
  • counseling
  • firearms
  • injury prevention
  • safe storage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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