Hartford, Conn. (November 16, 2022) – Firearm injuries are the leading cause of death for children in the United States with thirteen children dying from such injuries every day. To encourage parents, grandparents, families and community members to take action by asking about gun safety, Connecticut Children’s, Saint Francis Hospital, Hartford Hospital and Yale New Haven Health have joined thousands of hospitals and health systems around the country, the American Hospital Association, the Children’s Hospital Association and The Catholic Health Association of the United States in a nationwide public awareness and education campaign.
“As a parent, you can’t always control the risks faced by your child. But, when it comes to firearms, you can control whether unlocked guns are present in the place your child lives,” said Kevin Borrup, DrPH, JD, MPA, Executive Director of Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center. “Simply keep your firearms safely locked up. When your child visits someone else, even a grandparent or best friend, just ask, ‘are there any unlocked guns in the house?’ A responsible gun owner will appreciate the question.”
By asking about safe gun storage, the campaign is meant to help parents and families feel empowered to ask other parents about access to guns. Broadcast, print and digital public service messages and a website highlight that access to unlocked guns can lead to death, suicide and gun violence, making it more likely that children 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 normalizing this conversation.
“Every unsecured firearm poses a risk to those who encounter it,” said Stephanie Montgomery, MD, Chief of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery at Saint Francis Hospital. “Firearm injuries are the most devastating injuries we see, and the injuries go beyond the body, affecting every person in that person’s life. Saint Francis supports continued education about safe handling and storage of firearms, and this campaign falls directly in line with our year-round injury prevention efforts.”
“Hartford HealthCare is so proud to join trauma centers across the nation in supporting this crucial initiative. Gun violence is a public health crisis right in our own cities and towns. It is imperative that we understand and address the multiple causes behind this violence through this type of widespread collaboration, which will promote healthier and safer communities,” said Jonathan Gates, MD, MBA, Chief of Trauma at Hartford Hospital.
Connecticut Children’s, Saint Francis Hospital, Hartford Hospital and Yale New Haven Health regularly promote gun safety, with the latest of such efforts being their joint participation in the #KeepKidsSafe Connecticut Statewide Gun Buyback. Held on November 12, 2022, the statewide gun buyback resulted in 322 unwanted firearms being turned in to six police departments that participated in the event. In addition, residents received 292 free gun safes at buyback locations across the state.
“Firearm injuries are the leading cause of death for children and adolescents in the U.S.,” said James Dodington, MD, Medical Director, Center for Injury and Violence Prevention, Yale New Haven Health and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine, Yale School of Medicine. “Promoting safe firearm storage, asking about firearm safety, and building an ecosystem of community violence prevention strategies can save precious lives. We can make a difference, and healthcare providers should recognize their central role as messengers of safety for all our children.”
To learn more about this nationwide gun safety campaign, visit HospitalsUnited.com.
About the Campaign: Impetus for this and other public service campaigns come from over 100 healthcare marketing and communications executives representing the nation’s most prominent health systems, children’s hospitals, and hospital and health associations. Meeting regularly for a decade, they share knowledge. experience, best practices and resources, knowing they can accomplish more together. Founded and led by national healthcare leader Rhoda Weiss, Ph.D. the expanded coalition is partnering with Northwell Health, its Senior Vice President Ramon Soto and its Gun Violence Prevention Learning Collaborative for Hospitals and Health Systems for this effort. Many participants are also forming regional coalitions to offer messages of prevention and safety, hope and healing.
mbuchanan [at] connecticutchildrens.org (Monica Buchanan), Senior Director, Strategic Communications
Tina Varona, Hartford HealthCare
Tina.Varona [at] hhchealth.org (Tina[dot]Varona[at]hhchealth[dot]org)
Mark D’Antonio, Yale New Haven Health
Mark.Dantonio [at] ynnh.org (Mark[dot]Dantonio[at]ynnh[dot]org)
Po Murray, Newtown Action Alliance
pmurray [at] newtownaction.org (pmurray[at]newtownaction[dot]org)
Thousands of leading hospitals and prominent health associations nationwide unite to encourage families to ask about gun access and safety measures.
About Connecticut Children’s
Connecticut Children’s is the only hospital in Connecticut dedicated exclusively to the care of children and ranked one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and a Magnet® designated hospital. Connecticut Children’s provides more than 30 pediatric specialties along with community-based programs to uniquely care for the physical, social, and emotional needs of children. Our team of pediatric experts and care coordinators bring access to breakthrough research, advanced treatments for both rare and common diseases, and innovative health and safety programs to every child. Connecticut Children’s is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to improve access to healthcare for all children through convenient locations, care alliances and partnerships.
About Hartford HealthCare
With 36,000 colleagues, Hartford HealthCare’s unified culture enhances access, affordability, equity and expertise. Its care-delivery system — with more than 400 locations serving 185 towns and cities — includes two tertiary-level teaching hospitals, an acute-care community teaching hospital, an acute-care hospital and trauma center, three community hospitals, a behavioral health network, a multispecialty physician group, a clinical care organization, a regional home care system, an array of senior care services, a mobile neighborhood health program and a comprehensive physical therapy and rehabilitation network. On average, Hartford HealthCare touches more than 17,000 lives every single day. The unique, system-wide Institute Model offers a unified high standard of care in crucial specialties at hospital and ambulatory sites across Connecticut offering unparalleled expertise at the most affordable cost. The institutes include: Cancer, Heart and Vascular, Ayer Neuroscience, Orthopedics and Tallwood Urology. Visit Hartford HealthCare at www.HartfordHealthCare.org and stay connected through newsletters and social media.
About Saint Francis Hospital
Saint Francis Hospital has been an anchor institution in Connecticut since 1897. Saint Francis is a member of Trinity Health Of New England and Trinity Health, one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. Saint Francis Hospital, a Level 1 Trauma Center, is a 617-bed hospital, a major teaching hospital, and the largest Catholic hospital in New England. Other Saint Francis entities include the Comprehensive Women’s Health Center, the Connecticut Joint Replacement Institute, the Hoffman Heart and Vascular Institute of Connecticut, the Smilow Cancer Hospital Yale-New Haven at Saint Francis, Trinity Health Of New England Medical Group, and Community Health and Well Being, which includes the Curtis D. Robinson Center for Health Equity, the Joan C. Dauber Food Pantry, and the Greater Hartford Family Advocacy Center. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @SaintFrancisCT.
About Yale New Haven Health
Yale New Haven Health, the largest and most comprehensive healthcare system in Connecticut, is recognized for advanced clinical care, quality, service, cost effectiveness and commitment to improving the health status of the communities it serves. YNHHS includes five hospitals – Bridgeport, Greenwich, Lawrence + Memorial, Westerly and Yale New Haven hospitals, several specialty networks and Northeast Medical Group, a non-profit medical foundation with several hundred community-based and hospital-employed physicians. www.ynhhs.org