The pediatrician went viral after she demonstrated a straightforward, clear-cut conversation that parents could have about firearms to ensure the safety of their kids.
Trigger warning: This article contains themes of gun violence that some readers may find distressing
After the mass shooting at a Covenant school in Nashville this month, educating children about gun safety is more important than ever. In America, firearms are now the leading cause of death for children and teens, with over 19,000 students being shot, killed, or wounded and approximately 3 million being exposed to gun violence. The majority of child and teen gun homicides and unintentional shootings occur in the home. More than 80% of child suicides involve a gun that belongs to a family member, and it is only fair for a parent to question their kid’s friends’ homes about firearms. One pediatrician, however, is encouraging parents to have this life-saving conversation and giving step-by-step info on how not to make it weird.
A video by a TikTok user (@dr.emziees) went viral after she demonstrated a straightforward, clear-cut conversation that parents could have about firearms to ensure the safety of their kids. In the video, which garnered 1.5 million views, the pediatrician roleplayed two parents talking about an upcoming play date to show how simple it can be. First, she starts off the conversation by saying, "Hey, um, do they have any allergies we should know about?" Then she asks about firearms in the home, adding that her pediatrician had mentioned asking the question before play dates. "Our pediatrician did mention at our last well-child [visit] that wherever they're going, we should be asking if there are any firearms in the home," she says.
Acting as another parent, she admits to having a gun in their home, adding, "They're all locked away in a safe. None of the kids have the code, and we have the ammunition stored separately." The comments had a divided response, with many siding with the Tiktoker and many calling this a "violation of privacy." But there was one comment that struck a nerve with the pediatrician, which she later used as the new response for a follow-up video. "The problem is that nobody needs to know what you have in your house to protect yourself," one user wrote, seemingly implying that this question was a violation of their privacy," read the infamous comment.
In the second video, the pediatrician replies as the gun-owning parent, sharing how she would respond to a parent inquiring about firearms in the home. "Okay, as the parent of a child, I'm often looking out for hazards, and one of those is guns. So, for me, it's really important to know what hazards my child might come across when they're in somebody else's home because, by sending my child to your home, I am entrusting you with their safety," she says. "If you can't guarantee their safety while they're in your home, I don't know that I'll feel comfortable if I can't identify the hazards that they may come across."
Then she suggests rescheduling the play date at her house or a different location, like a park or other public setting. If that compromise is not sufficient for the gun-owning parent, the pediatrician says you’re probably better off. "You know what? If they don't feel comfortable with that, maybe they're not the right people to be watching your children," she winds up the video. "As a gun owner, it’s a MAJOR red flag when other parents aren’t fully on board with safety and transparency 🚩," said @jenrio1. "Those types of gun owners give us responsible ones a bad name😫 so frustrating. there's nothing to hide. I'm proud of my safe," added @pewpewdogmom.