This week a 15 year old boy in Guilford died from a gunshot wound. School let out early on Wednesday for teacher meetings. Emergency services were called that afternoon to the home of a friend. No adults were present. He died shortly thereafter at Yale New Haven.

The specific circumstances of this tragic loss are uncertain or have not been released, but a likely possibility is that this was an accidental shooting. One recent study suggests that almost 6,000 children in the US are treated for gunshot wounds each year and 21% of those are thought to be accidental.

Few things stir passionate debate in our country like firearms. Gun safety can be a touchy subject. But this is why we ask families:

Do you keep firearms in your home?

And, if so, are they locked up properly?

Occasionally, some families will balk at the questions. Like I said, it can be a touchy subject. ┬áBut, unlike adult patients, accidents are the leading cause of death in pediatrics, and accident-prevention becomes a main focus of our work. That’s why we ask about car seats. That’s why we ask about bike helmets. And that’s why we ask about gun safety.

This week it touched a bit closer to home.

Maybe this weekend you can hug them a little extra. And if your child is a bit older, and the circumstances seem appropriate, you might discuss what to do if anyone ever asks, “Hey! Do you want to see my dad’s gun?”